The Speaker of the UK’s lower house of parliament says he will not support any plans for Donald Trump to address both chambers during a state visit planned for later this year. John Bercow cited Trump’s temporary immigration ban as a factor.
More than 150 lawmakers have signed a symbolic motion calling for Trump not to be given the honour of speaking in parliament.
Asked by an opposition Labour lawmaker about the possibility of a parliamentary address, House of Commons Speaker Mr Bercow said he shared the concerns of the more than 1.8 million people who have signed a petition calling for Trump’s state visit to be cancelled.
“As far as this place (the lower house of parliament) 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,” the Speaker told parliament.
“Before the imposition of the migration ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”
“After the imposition of the migration ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.”
“An address by a foreign leader to both houses of parliament is not an automatic right; it is an earned honour.”
As one of the key figures whose approval would be needed for any parliamentary address, Bercow said he would oppose any possible move to invite Trump to speak in either of the two locations that normally host foreign leaders during state visits.
In 2011, Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama became the first US president to address both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall.
The hall, the oldest building in the parliamentary palace, has also hosted South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and France’s Charles de Gaulle.