U.K. citizens were once again entitled to moan as MP’s discussed the alterations. What really did stand out about this meeting was the talk of President Trump’s parliamentary visit to the UK, which has been a very popular debate topic for the past few weeks.
You may not know, but a petition was launched by the government in which if it reached 1,000,000+ signatures then Donald Trump’s U.K. visit would be reviewed. MPs are now to debate the issue in Westminster Hall.
As the topic came up once again, Speaker of the House, John Bercow was greeted with a round of applause from MP’s with his extraordinary speech expressing his absolute condemnation of inviting Trump to speak in the Houses of Parliament. The speech goes as follows:
“What I will say is this – an address by a foreign leader to both houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honour. Moreover, there are many precedents for state visits to take place to our country which do not include an address to both houses of Parliament.
The second point is in relation to Westminster Hall there are three keyholders to Westminster Hall, the Speaker of the Commons, the Speaker of the House of Lords and the Lord Great Chamberlain – ordinarily we are able to work by consensus and the hall would be used for a purpose such as an address… I must say to the Honourable Gentleman, to all who signed his Early Day Motions and to others… that before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.
So far as the Royal Gallery is concerned…I do not perhaps have as strong a say in that matter… although customarily an invitation to a visiting leader to deliver an address there would be issued in the names of the two speakers – I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump.
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. However, as far as this place is concerned 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.”
After the long-winded speech, another MP took over to discuss the Brexit bill once again, but people remained stunned from the powerful speech. Whilst it appears President Trump is going to be visiting British soil sometime soon and will no doubt have the desire to throw his unplanned words our way, John Bercow is clearly going to have a very strong say on it despite remaining politically neutral. I hope that not only will this empower British people in some way that we can make a difference, but citizens around the world too.