08/12/2015 12:53 GMT | Updated 08/12/2016 05:12 GMT

Donald Trump's 'Ban Muslims' Call 'Divisive And Wrong', Says David Cameron

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump's controversial call for Muslims to be barred from entering America have been slammed as "divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong" by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for next year's presidential election, sparked outrage in the US after saying that there should be "a total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US.

His comments came in the wake of last week's terror attack in San Bernardino, California, where a Muslim couple believed to have been radicalised shot 14 dead at a health centre.

Speaking to a regular media briefing in Westminster, Mr Cameron's official spokeswoman declined to say whether Mr Trump's comments might lead to him being barred from entry to the UK under hate-speech laws.

But she said: "The Prime Minister completely disagrees with the comments made by Donald Trump, which are divisive, unhelpful and quite simply wrong."

The Downing Street statement represents a departure from the practice usually followed by British prime ministers of avoiding commentary on the merits of contenders in the US presidential race.

Following the San Bernardino shootings, Mr Trump issued a campaign statement calling for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on".

His comments were criticised by other contenders for the Republican nomination, including Jeb Bush, who called the property tycoon and star of US TV's The Apprentice "unhinged".

Campaigners against Mr Trump's golf course development in Scotland have submitted a petition to Parliament calling for him to be barred from the UK "for his continued, unrepentant hate speech and unacceptable behaviour". The petition is under consideration for inclusion on the parliamentary website.

Mr Cameron's spokeswoman declined to say whether the PM would be willing to meet Mr Trump or whether he might be blocked from entry to the UK, describing the questions as "hypothetical".

She added: "The Prime Minister has been very clear that, as we look at how we tackle extremism and this poisonous ideology, what politicians need to do is look at ways they can bring communities together and make clear that these terrorists are not representative of Islam and indeed what they are doing is a perversion of Islam."