The Trump administration has seen many staffers come and go throughout its tenure thus far. One of its more controversial former staffers is continuing to make waves and garner widespread attention, including internationally. In fact, a new petition to ban Steve Bannon from the U.K. is starting to turn heads in Parliament. Much of the momentum behind the petition likely stems from Bannon's planned new organization called "The Movement," which seeks to unify Europeans who are affiliated with the far right in their respective countries.
As Bloomberg reported, the petition was launched on July 27 by Bruce Johnston, whom the outlet described as a citizen activist. The petition is on the U.K government and Parliament's website and includes the following description:
Steve Bannon is a far-right political figure who poses a direct risk to the security of the UK. He should not be allowed to enter the UK to spread messages of hate.
At the time of publication, the petition contains just under 8,000 signatures. It requires 10,000 signatures to receive an official response from the United Kingdom's government and 100,000 signatures to be considered for debate in Parliament. Johnston told Bloomberg that he decided to launch the petition last week out of concern for what he believes Bannon represents. "[Bannon] is dangerous and really shouldn’t be in the country," Johnston said. “We need to get to the stage where we protect our democracy.”
As The Guardian reported, Bannon's new organization is slated to be based in Brussels and will be committed to creating a unified, anti-European Union coalition to dominate the European Parliament elections in May 2019. As the Daily Beast noted, The Movement will provide campaign services, like polling and messaging advice, to far right candidates across Europe. If Bannon is successful in getting more far right candidates elected to create a unified Parliamentary coalition, these officials could stand to seriously influence the future trajectory of the European Parliament.
According to The Daily Beast, Bannon plans to start heading to Europe to helm the organization after the U.S. midterm elections in November. The outlet noted that he plans to spend much of his time visiting countries across the continent rather than at the planned Brussels headquarters. The organization is expected to have 10 to 25 staff members, depending on level of need and success rate.
Though he is currently involved in launching The Movement, Bannon previously served as a staffer in the Trump administration and on the Trump campaign. He was the campaign's chief executive and then later became the White House's chief strategist and a senior counselor to the president. Bannon left the White House on Aug. 18, 2017 with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying at the time (according to the New York Times), "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day."
It is not yet clear whether or not the U.K. petition could have a substantial effect on Bannon's ability to conduct activities in Europe on behalf of The Movement. Bannon's organization is seemingly focused on the upcoming European Parliament elections and, with the U.K. exiting the European Union, the country seems unlikely to be a top focal area for Bannon's organization. Regardless, thousands certainly seem to feel strongly about ensuring that Bannon is not allowed to enter the U.K. Time will tell if the U.K. government will respond to the petition and if Bannon has any comments on the issue.