When Donald Trump visits the U.K., House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has said that he would be “strongly opposed” to Trump speaking in Parliament and has also stated that speaking before Parliament is not necessarily “an automatic right.”
BBC News reports that while Labour and the SNP have praised John Bercow for suggesting that Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament, there are some critics who believe that Bercow should remain more neutral in this matter.
When Donald Trump met with Prime Minister Theresa May in January, he was invited to the U.K. for a state visit. What this state visit will entail is not known at the moment, and John Bercow has made it clear with his speech that addressing the Commons and the Lords should be something that is an “earned honour.”
“I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery. We value our relationship with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker. However, as far as this place is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
John Bercow is one of three people known as “key holders” to Westminister Hall. While he wouldn’t have been happy with the idea of Donald Trump addressing Parliament before his migrant ban, he is now even more firmly resolved that Trump should not be allowed to speak, especially in light of his recent travel ban from immigrants who hail from certain countries.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”
Commons Speaker John Bercow gets sustained applause after telling MPs he is “strongly opposed” to Donald Trump addressing Parliament pic.twitter.com/3plJ1hPWr0
— Press Association (@PA) February 6, 2017
The other individuals who are fellow key holders with John Bercow are the Lord Great Chamberlain, who is a hereditary peer in charge of specific parts of the palace of Westminister and Lord Fowler, who is the Speaker of the House of Lords.
With regard to John Bercow’s speech on not wanting Donald Trump to address Parliament, a House of Lords spokesperson said that there had been no consultation beforehand with the Lord Speaker as to Bercow’s statement, adding, “The Lord Speaker will make his own statement tomorrow to the Lords.”
Despite being elected as a Conservative MP and the top authority of the House of Commons, John Bercow is obliged to be politically impartial. Other leaders have applauded Bercow’s speech and the Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has said that Donald Trump is “not welcome” in Parliament, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has suggested that Trump’s state visit to the U.K. should be postponed.
Even though Theresa May has invited Donald Trump to the U.K. for a state visit, there has been no official proposal yet of Trump speaking before Parliament, and no official date has been set for his U.K. visit at this point in time.
Downing Street has said that while they look forward to a visit from Donald Trump at some point, there are currently no specific dates or plans for him to visit at the moment.
“We look forward to welcoming the president to the UK later this year. The dates and arrangements for the state visit will be worked out in due course.”
What did you think of John Bercow’s speech, and do you think it was a good idea or a bad idea for Bercow to suggest that Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament?
[Featured Image by Matt Dunham/AP Images]