UK Speaker Comes Out Against Trump in 'Unprecedented Rebuke'

John Bercow says Trump should not be allowed to address UK parliament
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 6, 2017 6:09 PM CST
UK Speaker: Let's Not Invite Trump to Address Parliament
A Wednesday, June 4, 2014 file photo of Britain's Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow as he walks through Central Lobby before Britain's Queen Elizabeth II delivered the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool, File)

The Speaker of Britain's House of Commons said Monday that he strongly opposes letting US President Donald Trump address Parliament during a state visit to the UK, the AP reports. Speaker John Bercow's unusual public intervention makes it unlikely Trump will be given the honor during his trip later this year. Bercow told lawmakers he would have been against extending the invitation even before Trump's temporary ban on citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations entering the US. He said that after the migrant ban was issued, "I am even more strongly opposed." Bercow's comments were unusual—the BBC calls his rebuke "unprecedented and extraordinary"—because speakers in the British Parliament are expected to remain above the partisan fray.

Bercow 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 honor 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. The invitation was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May when she visited Trump in Washington last month. May's office said the dates and itinerary for the state visit have not yet been finalized. (More President Trump stories.)

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