The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has blasted United States President Donald Trump.
Bercow’s comments caught everyone by surprise and angered some in the Conservative party, who labelled his remarks “outrageous”.
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt said “Generally the speaker, who’s meant to referee all of this, should keep himself above that”. Referring to how the Speaker is widely seen as having to be impartial on political mattersHowever, others praised the Speaker, with Labour MP Dennis Skinner saying “two words, well done” following Bercow’s comments. The Speaker also got an uncustomary round of applause from MP’s across some of the benches. Especially the opposition benches, from the likes of the SNP and the Liberal Democrats.
What did John Bercow say?
“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.
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 in the House of Commons.”
The Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler is set to address peers on the issue later today.
But all three Speakers, including hereditary peer, in charge of certain parts of the Palace of Westminster, the Lord Great Chamberlain. Must agree in order for President Trump to be allowed to address Parliament. So Bercow’s comments effectively bar Trump from doing so.
There has been some reaction from the United States, though nothing official from the Trump administration.
Republican Congressman Joe Wilson called the comments “very disappointing”. He added that Trump was one of the most pro-British presidents of recent years.
Last month Theresa May said that Donald Trump, had accepted an invitation from the Queen. For a State Visit to the United Kingdom. This caused outrage among some. A petition to block the visit was signed by nearly 2 million people. Meanwhile thousands took to the streets across the UK in protest.
Since then the Prime Minister has refused to back down over the issue. Saying repeatedly that the visit would go ahead.
However the petition will still be debated in the Commons on February 20.
Though John Bercow can’t stop a State Visit from happening, he can stop the President being able to address Parliament.