UK–(ENEWSPF)–February 6, 2017
“[A]s 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.”
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
Text of Speaker Bercow’s remarks from The Guardian (emphasis added):
What Bercow said about why Trump should not be invited to address parliament
This is what John Bercow said. He was responding to a point of order raised by the Labour MP Stephen Doughty who raised the early day motion signed by 163 MPs saying President Trump should not be invited to address parliament.
What I will say is this. An address by a foreign leader to both House of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honour. Moreover, there are many precedents for state visits to take place to our country which do not include an address to both Houses of Parliament. That’s the first point.
In relation to Westminster Hall, there are three key holder 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.
I must say to the honourable gentleman, to all who signed his early day motion and to others with strong views about this matter on either side of the argument, that 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.
So far as the Royal Gallery is concerned, again I operate on advice, I do not perhaps have as strong a say in that matter. It is in a different part of the building [ie, in the House of Lords, not the Commons], although customarily an invitation to a visiting leader to deliver an address there would be issued in the names of the two speakers. I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.
And I concluded by saying to the honourable gentleman this. We value our relationshjip with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker.
However, 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.
John Bercow’s statement was greeted by cheering and applause in the House of Commons (even though MPs are not supposed to applaud in the chamber – it only happens after someone has said something exceptional.) Then the Labour MP Dennis Skinner stood up to raise another point of order. He said his point of order comprised two words: “Well done.”
The whole episode is generating quite a flap across the pond. Check the live blog at The Guardian for ongoing coverage. In the meantime, here are some tweets of support from Labour MPs:
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
Brilliant speech by Speaker Bercow slamming Trump. Opposition benches applaud, Tories glum. This was Parliament at its best.
— Stephen Kinnock MP (@SKinnock) February 6, 2017
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