Democracy's greatest tool, the online petition, is back, and this time it's being wielded against one Donald Trump.
The petition, simply titled "Block Donald J Trump from U.K. entry," was created by Suzanne Kelly of Aberdeen, Scotland, in response to Trump's widely publicized call to block all Muslims from entering the United States. Kelly's petition elaborates:
The UK has banned entry to many individuals for hate speech. The same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter the UK.
If the United Kingdom is to continue applying the 'unacceptable behaviour' criteria to those who wish to enter its borders, it must be fairly applied to the rich as well as poor, and the weak as well as powerful.
With support and frequent tweeting from British comedy writer Armando Iannucci, creator of Veep andThe Thick of It, the petition quickly reached 10,000 signatures yesterday afternoon, which earned it a guaranteed government response. By this morning it had surpassed the 100,000 mark, which means that Parliament will have to "consider" the topic for debate. As of now it has 229,469 signatories, which you can also see mapped across Britain.
As Laura Marsh points out over at The New Republic, the signatures on the parliamentary petition don't really mean Parliament has to definitely debate the issue. Petitions can be rejected on several grounds, although the parliamentary petition site says that "Petitions which reach 100,000 signatures are almost always debated" unless they've already been considered or are scheduled to be debated without a petition.
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Kelly has taken with Trump. Kelly's written a great deal about the golf course Trump owns north of Aberdeen, and his attempts to build a new one. Ten days ago she also started another petition on the site 38degrees.org asking Robert Gordon University, which is also in Aberdeen, to strip Trump of an honorary degree he holds. That petition has 62, 614 signatures at the moment, and seeks 75,000. I've reached out to Kelly for an interview, but haven't been able to conduct one yet.
As for whether or not a ban could actually happen, the BBC points out that the British Home Secretary does have the power to exclude people from entry to the U.K., and has exercised it in the past.
Regardless, the petition has six months left on it, so Donald Trump should get all of his British travel in before then.
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org