US Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump was called all manner of names by British MPs on 18 January during a heated debate on whether to ban him from entering the UK. The unusual debate, which saw Trump called a "buffoon" and "bonkers", was triggered by a petition signed by more than half a million people calling for him to be barred from Britain after he said Muslims should not be allowed to enter the United States.
The three-hour debate was not followed by a vote, as only Home Secretary Theresa May can issue an order banning entry into Britain. Prime Minister David Cameron said that while Trump's comments were divisive, he does not favour barring him. While MPs were united in their condemnation of Trump's comments, they couldn't agree on the wisdom of the proposed ban on Trump.
Some thought it would be counter-productive and may actually boost Trump's presidential bid, and that the best way to deal with him was by ridicule. Others, especially Muslim MPs, believed Trump's comments are tantamount to hate speech, and therefore on legal grounds he should be banned from entering Britain. But using colourful language to level insults at Donald Trump came from all sides.
Gavin Robinson, a Democratic Unionist Party MP, called Trump a "buffoon" who "has the dangerous capability of saying the most obscene or insensitive things to attract attention". He advocated inviting Trump to Britain and to "let him go home with his tail between his legs".
Labour MP Naz Shah said: "Donald Trump is no more than a demagogue, he panders to people's fears as opposed to their strengths." Tory MP Victoria Atkins introduced those watching the debate to a northern English slang insult, calling Trump a "wazzock" – which means a stupid, idiotic or annoying person.
"His comments regarding Muslims are wrong. His policy to close borders if he is elected president is bonkers. And if he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency, then they may well tell him that he is a wazzock for dealing with this issue in this way," said Atkins.
Jack Dromey, a Labour MP, felt Trump's presence would be dangerous in the UK. "America is a great country – the land of the free, one of our oldest allies. Donald Trump is a fool. He is free to be a fool, he is not free to be a dangerous fool on our shores," he said.
Conservative MP Paul Scully attempted to inject some humour, saying: "Britain is pretty good at roasting beef. Do you not think it is better that we just roast Trump?" A Home Office minister responded at the end of the debate to echo Cameron's views and argue that the US is one of Britain's most important allies and that it is in the country's interest to have a dialogue with all American presidential candidates.
Trump has threatened to cancel more than £700m ($1bn) of planned investments in golf courses in Scotland if he is banned. A statement from Trump International Golf Links in Scotland strongly criticised the debate. "It is absurd that valuable parliamentary time is being wasted debating a matter raised as part of the American presidential election," it read. "Our politicians would do better to debate how to solve the challenges facing our own country and its people, like the tens of thousands of job losses in the oil industry and the thousands more job cuts planned."