18/01/2016 09:35 GMT | Updated 18/01/2016 13:59 GMT

Donald Trump Trolls MPs Over Oil Prices Ahead Of Debate On UK Ban - And Threatens To Pull £700m

Jeff J Mitchell via Getty Images
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump drives a golf buggy during his visits to his Scottish golf course Turnberry in July

Donald Trump has threatened to pull his £700m investment from Scotland - and warned his cash has "never been more needed" as oil prices tank.

The US presidential candidate's latest comments come as MPs tonight debate whether the should be banned from entering the UK following his inflammatory anti-Muslim comments.

The business tycoon called the MPs "ridiculous" and was "sending a terrible message to the world".

His argument that Muslims should be barred from entering the US following the Paris and California terror attacks - and claim London’s police lived in fear of extremism - prompted more than half-a-million people to sign a parliamentary e-petition calling for him to be stopped from coming to the UK.

His business interests include three golf courses in the UK and Ireland after buying the famous Turnberry venue last year.

Team Trump said: "With the collapse of the oil price, the investment in Aberdeen has never been more important and Mr Trump is likely to spend more than he initially planned when the economy recovers."

Ahead of the debate, which will also consider a rival petition saying he should be allowed to come in to the UK, Mr Trump’s team issued a statement goading MPs - and ramped up his row with the Scottish National Party.

The most spiky comment is over the "collapse of the oil price", which has hit the the north-east Scotland economy hard given its reliance on offshore reserves.

Mr Trump owns the luxury links course at the Menie Estate, Aberdeenshire, and says his investment there has "never been more important".

Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links, Scotland, which owns Turnberry golf course in the north of Scotland, said:

“It is absurd that valuable parliamentary time is being wasted debating a matter raised as part of the American Presidential election. For the UK to consider banning someone who made a statement in America, about American boarders (sic) during a US election campaign is ridiculous. Westminster is creating a dangerous precedent on this issue and is sending a terrible message to the world. 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. The individuals who instigated this ban have a self-serving personal agenda and do not represent the views or interests of the vast majority of British people.

“Mr Trump is investing hundreds of millions of pounds into the Scottish economy and its greatest assets. Until now, Turnberry has been unable to attract the huge investment required to secure its future and industry chiefs have applauded Trump International Golf Links, Scotland which has attracted tens of thousands of much needed overseas visitors to the region. Both properties are critical to the golf, leisure and tourism sector in Scotland which we cannot afford to jeopardise. Any attempt at a ban of this kind would force Mr Trump to abandon his plans for a further £700 million investment. With the collapse of the oil price, the investment in Aberdeen has never been more important and Mr Trump is likely to spend more than he initially planned when the economy recovers.”

Mr Trump has been engaged in a trans-Atlantic row with the former Scotland First Minister and SNP MP Alex Salmond in recent weeks over his comments and a controversial wind farm he claims despoils his golf course's view.

MPs, while universally condemning Mr Salmond's remarks, are split over a ban. The Government has signalled it would not prohibit him from entering the UK in any case.

Labour MP Jamie Reed has written Mr Trump is a "tragi-comic figure" who should not only be allowed into the UK he should be "made to sit in London’s British Museum in a glass cage, or even enter the Celebrity Big Brother House".

But he said the "absurdity of Trump’s candidacy" is "matched only" by the Commons debate. "In the midst of so many domestic crises, this is a huge waste of UK taxpayers’ money," he said.

He told The Huffington Post UK: "Despite being a waste of Parliament's time and taxpayer's money, if a vote was carried that sought to keep Trump out it would probably be unenforceable. It would also be a real shame for Alex Salmond as him and Donald used to appear to be so close."


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