Commons Speaker John Bercow has been criticised for saying that he would not support giving US President Donald Trump a platform to address Parliament during his state visit.
Bercow’s comments have been praised by many, including the 1.8 million people who signed a petition to stop Trump meeting the Queen, who see Trump’s racist and sexist behaviour as an affront to liberal democracy.
In reply to a question in the Commons, Bercow explained that a foreign leader making an address in Westminster Hall is an “earned honour” and not an automatic right.
“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 comments found applause in the Commons, but a number of leading Conservatives called the Speaker’s comments “utterly outrageous” and complained that he should remain impartial.
The Commons Speaker is one of three key holders to Westminster Hall, alongside the Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler, and the Lord Great Chamberlain, who have control over who can and cannot make a speak at Westminster.
Last month, Trump accepted and invitation for an official state visit later this year by Theresa May. This offer was widely derided as pandering to the new president, who has spent his first weeks in office by imposing controversial measures such as a “Muslim ban” and launching a failed military raid in Yemen.