Victoria Atkins MP has spoken out against banning US presidential hopeful Donald Trump - adding that some of her constituents in Louth and Horncastle would consider him a “wazzock” following his recent controversial comments about Muslims.
Mr Trump, who hopes to become the Republican candidate for the presidential election later this year, sparked outrage last month after calling for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”.
Yesterday (January 18) in Parliament, MPs discussed whether Donald Trump should be banned from entering the UK by the Home Secretary, following a petition which attracted more than 575,000 signatures.
Referring to Mr Trump, Victoria Atkins said: “His comments about Muslims are wrong. His policy to close borders, if he is elected as President, is bonkers. If he met one or two of my constituents in one of the many excellent pubs in my constituency, they may well tell him that he is a wazzock for dealing with the issue in that way.
“I sense that my constituents, whether in New York or Tetney, in Minting or Mablethorpe, feel that their values are more than robust enough to survive anything that Mr Trump may say. We in Lincolnshire —in fact, we in the United Kingdom — should have enough confidence in our values to allow him to say whatever he wants in New York, New York, or in New York, Lincolnshire, or anywhere else in the world, because our British values are stronger than some among us here today appear to fear.”
Ms Atkins later added: “One of the values that best sums up our country is the freedom to exchange thoughts and ideas within the law— the freedom to persuade or rebut; the freedom to inspire or eviscerate in argument; the freedom to speak; and the freedom to listen. That freedom is not always comfortable... the freedom of speech must mean that we will sometimes be offended.
“It means allowing those whose views we hold to be unedifying to speak their minds. Crucially, it also means the freedom to reply — to say, ‘No, Donald Trump, you are wrong, and you are wrong for the following reasons’.
“That freedom was hard won over centuries and it must be defended jealously, because it goes to the essence of democracy and the rule of law.”
Ultimately, Donald Trump’s comments were denounced by most of the MPs who spoke during the debate, but the majority also spoke out against the proposal to ban him from entering the UK.