Racist comments by US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may play well with some disaffected Americans, but he has drawn nothing but contempt in Britain. Even the party of Margaret Thatcher rebukes him.
British hostility towards US presidential candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump is a hot commodity across the United Kingdom.
Throughout the day the numbers have risen sharply: first 70,000; then 100,000; then 130,000; and as of this writing more than 230,000. That is, nearly a quarter of a million people signing a petition to ban the US presidential candidate from Britain.
The appeal comes in response to widespread outrage over Trump's repeated calls to ban Muslims from the United States.
He called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on" following recent attacks that left 14 people dead in California and killed 130 in Paris.
He later defended his comments on US network MSNBC, saying: "They have sections in Paris that are radicalized, where the police refuse to go.
"We have places in London... that are so radicalized that the police are afraid for their own lives."
The latter comment drew outrage and fury from across Britain's political establishment.
London Mayor Boris Johnson lashed into Trump. "I think he is betraying a quite stupefying ignorance that makes him frankly unfit to hold the office of the president of the United States," Johnson told ITV News.
The mayor also told the BBC, "Crime has been falling steadily both in London and in New York - the only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump."
Prime Minister David Cameron - who now leads the same conservative party once led by Margaret Thatcher - said the US presidential candidate's statement was "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong."
The closest Trump came to a voice of support from Britain's political establishment came from finance minister George Osborne - not that Osborne at all agreed with Trump.
"I think the best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage him in a robust democratic argument about why he is profoundly wrong about the contribution of American Muslims and indeed British Muslims," Osborne said during a discussion in parliament.
Trump's comments prompted an outraged Scottish government Wednesday to drop him as a business ambassador for the country, where he owns golf courses and hotels.
"Mr. Trump's recent remarks have shown that he is no longer fit to be a business ambassador for Scotland," a spokesman for the regional government said.
The petition will now be considered for debate by parliament as it has over 100,000 signatures, and will receive a written government response.
The petition says, "The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK."
bik/jil (Reuters, AFP, dpa)