John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons has today said that Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament, in comments made earlier today in Parliament.
Speaking in parliament, he said “We value our relationship with the US. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond the pay grade of the Speaker. However, as far as this place is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are important considerations in the House of Commons.”
The remarks were made after a point of order raised by the Labour MP Stephen Doughty, who had earlier in the day organised an early day motion calling on the speaker to not give his permission to the government, which would allow Mr Trump to speak in Westminster.
The motion was supported by 163 MP’s.
Mr Bercow who’s role is non-political, is one of the three Parliamentary “Key Holders” said that he could not block a state visit by President Trump to the UK but would use the keyholder position to stop the American president from speaking to both houses.
“In relation to Westminster Hall, there are three key-holders … the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Speaker of the House of Lords and the lord great chamberlain, and ordinarily we are able to work by consensus and the hall would be used for a purpose such as an address, by agreement of the three key-holders.”
Qualifying his remarks he went on to add ” 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 by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”
While the Speakers intervention was welcomed by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, the government have called Mr Bercow’s comments “hugely political and out of line”.
Labour MP Stephen Doughty, who’s initial motion drew the speakers remarks praised Mr Bercow, saying “I am delighted that the Speaker has listened to members from across the house regarding our deep concerns that Donald Trump not be honoured with an address in Westminster Hall or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster, after his comments and actions on women, torture, refugees and the judiciary.
“Our parliament stands for liberty, equality and independent scrutiny of government. It is vital we stand up for those principles not only here but across the world. Mr Speaker has made that crystal clear today.”