Petition to bar Bannon from entering UK gains support

Kitty Donaldson
Bloomberg News

A petition to bar Steve Bannon from entering the U.K. looks set to reach the 10,000 signatories needed to get a response from the government.

Bannon, a former chief strategist in Donald Trump’s administration, “is dangerous and really shouldn’t be in the country” due to his support for British anti-Islam campaigners, said Bruce Johnston, a citizen activist who sponsored the petition. “We need to get to the stage where we protect our democracy.”

Since leaving the White House, Bannon has campaigned for and otherwise supported various European populist and conservative political movements. These include France’s National Front, Hungary’s Fidesz, Alternative for Germany and the U.K. Independence Party – which campaigned for Brexit. A self-described economic nationalist, Bannon advocates cuts in immigration.

In remarks leaked by LBC radio following an interview in London this month, Bannon called Tommy Robinson – the former leader of the anti-Islamic English Defence League – the “backbone” of Britain. Robinson has become the poster boy for far-right dissatisfaction in the U.K. following his imprisonment for contempt of court.

“People need to start getting interested in politics because at the moment the bad guys are winning,” said Johnston, 36, who works for a design and marketing company. He compared Bannon to other radical extremists banned from entering the U.K.

While petitions aimed at the president in the U.S. require 100,000 signatures in 30 days to force a response, only 1/10 of that is needed in six months in Britain – 100,000 would see Johnston’s petition considered for debate by Parliament. It had more than 6,000 signatories as of 2:30 p.m. on Monday.