House of Commons Speaker John Bercow announced Monday that he intends to prevent President Trump from addressing Parliament during his upcoming state visit.
The speaker of the House of Commons says he would not invite President Trump to Parliament pic.twitter.com/AkKYaO7o9I
— Esther Webber (@estwebber) February 6, 2017
As is tradition, during their state visit, the US President is allowed the opportunity to address MPs and the House of Lords in Westminster Hall. Bercow intends to block Trump from this privilege as one of the three individuals with the authority to do so:
“As far as this place [the House of Commons] 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 hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
MPs in the House of Commons were divided over this issue, though applause was abundant among Labour MPs. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted some time after the speech: “Well said John Bercow. We must stand up for our country’s values. Trump’s State Visit should not go ahead.”
Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron also applauded this decision.
“The government’s obsession to get a Brexit trade deal, any deal, means we have ended up in this situation. It has been a grubby little saga from beginning to end. Trump should be under no illusion. We are snubbing him.”
Speaker Bercow just cancelled Trump visit to parliament. A proud moment for Commons. Racism and sexism not welcome here.
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) February 6, 2017
The Speaker’s decision has also been met with harsh criticism from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage. “For Speaker Bercow to uphold our finest parliamentary traditions, he should be neutral,” he said.
Bercow’s decision comes about following a very popular petition wishing to prevent Trump from making a state visit altogether, reaching 1.8 million as of Monday.
This petition has been slammed by Prime Minister Theresa May, who remained stoic in allowing Trump’s State visit to go ahead. “The United States is a close ally of the United Kingdom. We work together across many areas of mutual interest and we have that special relationship between us,” she said. “I have issued that invitation for a state visit for President Trump to the United Kingdom and that invitation stands.”
Trump’s refugee ban on seven middle-eastern countries incited protests and outrage internationally throughout the West, leading to thousands demanding he be banned from the UK altogether.
Despite Bercow’s view, as a speaker his role is to be a neutral party within the House of Commons—is he right to take such a stance and to try to prohibit Trump from addressing Parliament?