The speaker of the UK House of Commons says he is “opposed” to a speech by US President Donald Trump in Westminster Hall, particularly after his order for imposition of a travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.
John Bercow made the remarks during a speech to the House of Commons on Monday after a point of order by a fellow Labour MP, Stephen Doughty.
Bercow noted that his opposition to a Trump speech intensified after the new president‘s executive order.
“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,” said the speaker.
Bercow’s stance complicates the situation for the government of Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been promoting a boost in the UK-US “special relationship” after Trump’s grip on power.The Republican president, however, has been under pressure over issuing an executive order to impose a 90-day entry ban on citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia, block refugees from Syria indefinitely, and suspend all refugee admissions for 120 days.
“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,” Bercow said.
The speaker in the lower chamber of the parliament is one of the figures that should sign off on a parliamentary address by Trump.
“In relation to Westminster Hall, there are three key holders to Westminster Hall: the speaker of the House of Commons, the speaker of the House of Lords and the lord great chamberlain. Ordinarily we are able to work by consensus and the hall would be used for a purpose such as an address or another purpose by agreement of the three key holders,” he said. “I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.”
Bercow asserted that a speech to the House is not an “automatic right” but an “earned honor.”
“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.”