UK Speaker: Trump Won’t Address House of Commons on My Watch
The Speaker of the U.K.’s House of Commons on Monday vowed to block President Donald Trump from addressing the chamber during his state visit, a remark that drew spontaneous cheering and applause from members of Parliament (MPs).
Speaker John Bercow cited Trump’s racism, sexism, and seeming disregard for independent judiciaries as reasons that he would block him from speaking to the chamber, even if he couldn’t prevent the president from visiting the U.K. altogether.
“We value our relationship with the U.S.,” Bercow said. “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.”
MPs burst into applause at Bercow’s comments, which the Independent described as a rare occurrence. Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner said later, “Further to that point of order: two words: well done.”
Bercow also referenced Trump’s recent executive order blocking entry to the U.S. for immigrants and refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries, which has prompted protests and legal actions throughout the country.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” Bercow told MPs. “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.”
Speaking to Parliament, Bercow said, is “not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who made a state visit to the U.S. in January, invited Trump to the United Kingdom before the end of the year.