Will Trump be banned from speaking in Parliament?

Last night, House of Commons speaker John Bercow announced his plans to ban Donald Trump from speaking in the Commons

Last night, House of Commons speaker John Bercow announced his plans to ban Donald Trump from speaking in the Commons during his state visit to the UK later on this year. In a major snub to the President of the United States, Bercow’s seemingly unplanned intervention against Trump came after continued worldwide backlash against the President since he took his seat three weeks ago.

Bercow has said that he was “strongly opposed” to Mr Trump speaking in the Commons, stressing that being invited to address Parliament on a state visit was “not an automatic right” but “an earned honour”. He blamed Trump’s racist and sexist views and policies on the reason why he planned to ban him from speaking, saying, “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.”

"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.”

Bercow’s statement was met with a round of applause – an otherwise banned practice – from the MPs present in the Commons at the time. He’s also received votes of support from various party leaders, including Jeremy Corbyn who has been vocal about his feelings towards President Trump. Corbyn tweeted shortly after the speech: “Well said John Bercow. We must stand up for our country’s values. Trump’s State Visit should not go ahead.” Veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner stood up to say “well done” to Bercow after his speech; one of Corbyn’s colleagues, Harriet Harman, tweeted, saying it was a “proud moment” for the house of commons and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has said: “Trump should be under no illusion. We are snubbing him.”

 

So will the alleged ban actually take place? As Bercow is one of three holders to the keys of the Commons and therefore one of the only people who can actively decide whether this ban takes place or not, his statement will lead to a debate in parliament before anything is strongly set in stone.

John Bercow's statement:

“What I will say is this. An address by a foreign leader to both Houses 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 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.

 

“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.

 

“And I concluded by saying to the honourable gentleman this. 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 [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.”

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