Monday, February 6, 2017 11:42 pm
U.S President Donald TrumpThe Speaker of the British Parliament’s Lower House, who chairs debates and hosts guests, on Monday said he opposes any speech in parliament by U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump is expected to make a state visit to Britain in spite mounting opposition from politicians and members of the public, raising speculation that he could speak in parliament, as several other national leaders have done during state visits.
“We value our relationship with the U.S…. [but] 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,” speaker John Bercow told parliament.
Bercow is one of three officials who would need to agree to any speech in parliament they are requested to organise one by the government.
In his role as speaker he is required to maintain political impartiality, and some critics argued that he breached that rule on Monday.
“For Speaker Bercow to uphold our finest parliamentary traditions, he should be neutral,” former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a strong supporter of Trump, said on Twitter.
But opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Bercow for his stance.
“We must stand up for our country’s values. Trump’s state visit should not go ahead,” Corbyn said.
More than 1.8 million people have backed an online petition to parliament, urging the government to downgrade Trump’s state visit.
Parliament will debate the petition on February 20. (dpa/NAN)