Donald Trump has hit back at the British furore over his Muslim travel ban policy by accusing UK politicians of "pandering to political correctness". The embattled property tycoon made the remarks after the Scottish government dropped the Republican presidential candidate as a business ambassador and Robert Gordon University stripped him of an honorary degree.

The UK Prime Minister David Cameron, the Chancellor George Osborne and the Mayor of London Boris Johnson were just some of the top politicians to condemn the right-winger and a petition calling for Trump to be banned from travelling to Britain for "hate speech" is on track to reach 400,000 – four times the number of backers needed for its contents to be debated in parliament.

Trump, who owns hotels and golf courses in Scotland, landed himself in hot water after he said all Muslims should be barred from travelling to the US in the wake of the Islamic State (Isis/Daesh) linked terror attacks on Paris and the San Bernardino shootings in California. He also later claimed that there were "no-go areas" in London for the Metropolitan Police because of radicalisation.

"The UK politicians should be thanking me instead of pandering to political correctness. In fact, in an article out today, many police officers in London have come forward to confirm their fears of terrorism," Trump said in a statement released to The Daily Telegraph.

"I only said what needed to be said, and when I am elected no one will be tougher or smarter than me. I will work very hard and effectively to defeat terrorism.

"I have respect for the Muslim people and have great friendships with many Muslims, some of whom I do business with – but they themselves admit there is a major problem with radicalisation. As president, I will work with Muslim representatives to determine a solution to eradicate the terrorism that has plagued the credibility of the Muslim community."

The latest opinion polling shows that Trump is leading the race to secure the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential elections. A survey from USA Today and Suffolk University, of 1,000 of his likely voters, found that 68% of his supporters would stick with him if Trump split from the Republican Party amid the race row and ran as an independent.