LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump should not be banned from visiting Britain, finance minister George Osborne said on Wednesday, after more than 100,000 people signed an online petition demanding his exclusion.
Trump has been heavily criticized after he called for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on," following last week's deadly shooting spree in California by two Muslims.
Osborne, standing in for the absent David Cameron at the weekly Prime Minister's Questions session in parliament, was asked whether Trump should be banned.
"I think the best way to confront the views of someone like Donald Trump is to engage him in a robust democratic argument about why he is profoundly wrong about the contribution of American Muslims and indeed British Muslims," he said.
"That is the best way to deal with Donald Trump and his views rather than trying to ban presidential candidates."
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Lisa Barrington; writing by Kate Holton; editing by Stephen Addison)