By Olivia Coombes
The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, voiced his opposition at allowing the US president Donald Trump to address parliament in an emotional speech to the commons on Monday.
Bercow, who has held the position as Speaker now for 8 years, cited ‘racism and sexism’ as two of the major reasons why he would make a move to block the President from entering parliament.
Bercow stated that an address to the houses of parliament by a foreign leader was not an ‘automatic right’ but an ‘earned honor’.
The speaker suggested that he would have opposed the address even before the President’s actions in recent weeks and thus Trump’s ‘travel ban’ simply cemented the fact that he should not be allowed to speak to parliament.
Bercow argued that this honor fundamentally should not be bestowed to Trump who has been heralded as ‘racist’ by multiple parties, including Bercow.
Bercow’s speech was met with cheers and applause by many members of parliament.
In an effort to really push his opposition to Trump’s visit, Bercow said that customarily an invitation to a visiting foreign leader is issued in the name of the speakers, and that he would not be putting his name on that invitation.
There has been no word yet on whether this would impact Trump’s presence at parliament, yet it was certainly met with approval from Labour and SNP MPs.
The reaction from the Tory MPs was to be expected. They criticised Bercow in parliament for not remaining impartial, with some going as far to say that Bercow should stand down from his position.
In an effort to maintain this incredibly ‘special relationship’ Theresa May has had her say on the issue in question.
She said that Bercow’s comments were an issue for parliament but argued that she would not give her ‘full confidence’ to Bercow.
May continues to stress that she is extremely excited to welcome Trump on his state visit to the United Kingdom.
It is worth mentioning that although Lord Fowler (speaker of the House of Lords) is keeping an ‘open mind’ on the matter, he has stated in the Lords that he has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years against discrimination and particularly within the LGBT community.
Whether this is hinting at an opinion close to Bercow is a matter of semantics, but the fact remains he may still hold some sort of abhorrence towards Mr. Trump and perhaps consequentially his visit to the United Kingdom.