John Bercow, House of commons speaker taking a political stand, delivered rebellious undertones to Trump on Monday. With regards to an order signed by 170 MPs trying to prevent Trump from addressing parliament during his upcoming state visit, Bercow said: “An address by a foreign leader to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right; it is an earned honour.” Although his statement was cheered by many but it offended some.
His statement was followed by a round of applause despite the House strictly prohibiting applause or clapping of hands—by MPs from Labour and the Scottish National Party. The ruling Conservative benches were silent.
Bercow said that he has always been apprehensive about Trump, even before he banned immigrants; but his latest decisions, he opposes it even more strongly. “I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery. I conclude by saying…that we value our relationship with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker,” he said.
And added: “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.” It is to be noted that PM May has stood by her decision to invite Trump in her recent US visit. However, no date has been finalised of his visit.
Bercow is known to speak his mind inside and outside the House of Commons, on some instances, he showered fulsome praise on the others he would leave no room for criticism.
“Sceptics sometimes suggest that democracy is all but impossible to create or to maintain in countries of a certain size, degree of diversity or level of economic development. Over the past 68 years, India has proved to be a standing rebuke to such sceptics,” he had said during Narendra Modi’s visit in November 2015.
“To rout the disbelievers completely, however, democracy has to demonstrate that it can respect free speech and incorporate a true diversity of creeds, faiths and orientations without diminishing or disrespecting any of them.”