British government official says no plans to ban Trump over Muslim remarks

LONDON – Britain has no plans to ban Donald Trump over his comments about Muslims despite a growing number of calls for his exclusion, the country’s Treasury chief said Wednesday.

British politicians have condemned Trump’s proposal for all Muslims to be barred from entering the U.S. in the wake of violence by Islamic extremists, and official bodies in Britain distanced themselves from the Republican presidential nomination hopeful.

A university revoked his honorary degree Wednesday, and the Scottish government dumped Trump as an unpaid business ambassador.

Some Britons say the remarks amount to hate speech and have called for Trump to be barred from the U.K., where he owns a Scottish golf course. An online petition has surpassed the 100,000-signature threshold that means a committee of lawmakers must consider it for debate in Parliament.

Finance minister George Osborne told lawmakers that Trump’s “nonsense” views “fly in the face of the founding principles of the United States.” But he said it would be wrong to “ban presidential candidates.”

Answering questions in the House of Commons, Osborne said “the best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage in a robust democratic argument with him about why he is profoundly wrong.”

The government has the power to bar people considered a threat to public safety or national security, or those with criminal convictions. In the past the U.K. has denied entry to figures as diverse as boxer Mike Tyson, rapper Tyler the Creator, radical Muslim preachers and the late Christian fundamentalist Fred Phelps. Sr.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, in northeast Scotland, said Wednesday it was withdrawing an honorary doctorate in business administration it awarded Trump in 2010. It said his recent statements “are wholly incompatible with the ethos and values of the university.”

The Scottish government also revoked Trump’s status as a business ambassador with the GlobalScot network, a group of business leaders, entrepreneurs and executives with a connection to Scotland.

The entrepreneur-turned-politician’s mother was born in Scotland, and Trump has spoken of his affection for the country.