Culture

The British Speaker Is ‘Strongly Opposed’ To Letting Trump Address Parliament

If you think the United States Senate or the House of Representatives can be hot spots of volatile arguments or cumbersome shouting matches, then you’ve never witnessed the United Kingdom’s House of Commons. An insult as seemingly simple as “dodgy” can turn the room into a cavalcade of irritated British politicians and staffers. Yet Westminster Hall, where the House of Commons members meet regularly to trade barbs and pass legislation, is also where they invite the world’s dignitaries to address them during official state visits.

Unless you’re President Donald Trump, whose planned visit later this year might not include said address. That’s because Speaker John Bercow, whose role traditionally requires him to “remain above the partisan fray” according to the Associated Press, did just the opposite. Why? Because of the White House’s immigration ban, of course:

“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… We value our relationship with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way above and 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 hugely important considerations.”


Prime Minister Theresa May’s January visit to the White House notwithstanding, many British citizens aren’t too fond of Trump’s invitation to cross the Atlantic by Queen Elizabeth II. An official petition launched on the Parliament’s website (not unlike White House petitions) asked lawmakers to “Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom.” To date, the petition has collected nearly 1.85 million signatures — well over the 100,000 required for Parliament to debate it.

Parliament is scheduled to debate the petition on Monday, February 20. Even so, Trump’s state visit later this year will likely happen without a hitch. As for his addressing the House of Commons, Bercow’s comments today suggest this may not be included on the tour.

(Via ABC News and Associated Press)

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