Thu | Aug 17, 2017

UK Speaker: Trump shouldn't be allowed to address Parliament

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Britain's Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.

LONDON (AP):

The Speaker of Britain's House of Commons said yesterday that he strongly opposes letting United States President Donald Trump address Parliament during a state visit to the United Kingdom.

Speaker John Bercow's unusual public intervention makes it unlikely that Trump will be given the honour during his trip later this year.

Bercow told lawmakers that he would have been against extending the invitation even before Trump's temporary ban on citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations entering the United States.

He said that after the migrant ban was issued, "I am even more strongly opposed."

Courts in the United States have suspended the ban, prompting furious tweets from the president.

 

Unusual comment

 

Bercow's comments were unusual because Speakers in the British Parliament are expected to remain above the partisan fray.

He is one of the parliamentary officials who would have to agree on inviting a foreign dignitary to address lawmakers and peers.

World leaders given the honour of making a speech to both houses of Parliament include Nelson Mandela and Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Bercow was cheered by opposition lawmakers when he said that although Britain values its relationship with the US, "our opposition to racism and to sexism, and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations".

Trump is due to visit Britain later this year as the guest of Queen Elizabeth II. But some Britons are critical of the government's apparent rush to get close to the divisive president.

An online petition opposing Trump's state visit has more than 1.8 million signatures and will be debated by lawmakers on February 20.