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Speaker Of British House Of Commons Says No Address By Trump

When she came to visit President Trump during his first week in office, British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to visit the United Kingdom. It has since been reported that such a visit, which apparently has not been scheduled, would be a formal state visit that would include an audience with Queen Elizabeth II and all the other formalities associated with such a visit. One thing that won’t be included, though, is an address to Parliament, at least not if the Speaker of the House of Common has anything to say about it:

The Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons says he is “strongly opposed” to letting US President Donald Trump address lawmakers during his state visit to the UK.

John Bercow said his resistance to the speech was because of Parliament’s opposition to “racism and sexism.”

Bercow is one of three parliamentary officials who must approve any invitation for someone to speak in Westminster Hall, the venue typically used for grand occasions of state.

Speaking in response to a motion signed by 163 MPs calling for Trump not to be afforded a Westminster Hall audience, Bercow said “An address by a foreign leader to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May invited Trump to make a state visit to the UK when she met him in the White House a week after his inauguration last month. The details of the trip have not yet been finalized, and not every state visit to the UK involves an address to Parliament.

Bercow said his disapproval of any such speech by Trump had increased in the wake of the US President’s controversial travel ban.

“Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would have myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump at Westminster Hall,” he told MPs on Monday. “After the imposition of the migrant ban, I am even more strongly opposed.”
“We value our relationship with the United States,” Bercow insisted, adding that “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 to equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons,” he said.

Bercow’s strongly-worded statement to the House of Commons was greeted with applause from some MPs. Applause is unusual in the Commons chamber, where members usually voice their approval or dissent vocally.

On Twitter later, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas voiced her approval of his opposition, saying: “Good on the Speaker.”

For what it’s worth, it is worth noting that prior to becoming Speaker, John Bercow was a Member of Parliament from the Conservative Party so it’s not like this is coming from someone on the left side of the British political spectrum.

An invitation to address Parliament is an honor that has been granted to only three American Presidents, President Reagan, President Clinton, and President Obama (source), so the lack of an invitation would not necessarily be new. The public manner in which it is being debated, though, is arguably a strong indication of the antipathy toward Trump overseas even in a nation that has been among one of the United States’s closest and most loyal allies. It also suggests that Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom later this year is likely to prove controversial with the British public and could spark public protests unlike any that has accompanied a visit by any American President.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Also, just short of 2 million people have signed a petition in the UK to deny Trump a meeting with the queen. That’s the equivalent of 10 million Americans.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The crowds will be YUUUUUUUUUUUGE! They’re gonna LOVE him. Just you wait and see.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. gVOR08 says:

    Boy am I glad we got rid of that black guy that had such bad relations with our allies.

    For the oblivious: 😉

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    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  4. Gustopher says:

    This is a deliberate affront, and while I generally support a deliberate affront to President Trump, it doesn’t make him look nearly as bad as actually letting him speak to parliament would.

    Perhaps they could compromise and have him do one of those lovely Q&A sessions that the PM subjects herself to on a regular basis. I’m sure the MPs would treat him with all the deference and respect that they treat their own.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Gustopher:

    it doesn’t make him look nearly as bad as actually letting him speak to parliament would.

    But not being invited to speak will kill his ego.
    That’s the only way to attack him…thru his ego.
    He is close to snapping…it’s only a matter of time.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  6. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: Actually, it’s not usual for the POTUS to be asked to speak to Parliament on a trip to the U.K.

    Of course, the last POTUS who was requested was….Barack Obama. Which must grind sand into the depth of The Orange One’s soul.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. Scott says:

    @Gustopher:

    have him do one of those lovely Q&A sessions that the PM subjects herself to on a regular basis.

    That would be awesome. Maybe make it Pay per View. Like WWE

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  8. HankP says:

    Say what you want about the Brits, they usually can recognize an idiot when they see one.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. MikeSJ says:

    @Gustopher:

    Perhaps they could compromise and have him do one of those lovely Q&A sessions that the PM subjects herself to on a regular basis

    If debate Q & A was a tradition in our country Trump would be (as would have happened to Dubya and Reagan) laughed off the stage.

    That our system of politics elevates such mediocrities is a sad indictment of our government.

    If only.

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    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Pch101 says:

    This sort of news makes this kind of statement from a Trumpkin even more hilarious:

    I’m starting to wonder if Trump isn’t playing 3-D chess while many are still playing checkers.

    This must be one of those situations in which positioning yourself as a dumb, disrespected pariah is a victory. Or something.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. rachel says:

    @Gustopher:

    Perhaps they could compromise and have him do one of those lovely Q&A sessions that the PM subjects herself to on a regular basis. I’m sure the MPs would treat him with all the deference and respect that they treat their own.

    Or maybe Trump could be interviewed on BBC’s Hard Talk. Hahahahahah!

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Tyrell says:

    Still mad about that battle at New Orleans.

    ReplyReply

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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