Speaker says no to Donald Trump in parliament – and opposition MPs rejoice
Watch: John Bercow said the U.S president would get blocked from speaking in the Commons.
Commons Speaker John Bercow shocked Westminster by saying he would oppose Donald Trump speaking in Parliament.
Bercow took MPs - and presumably Number 10 - by surprise by weighing into the debate about whether the US president should be able to speak in Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery.
"Before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” he said.
"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."
In a striking peroration, he cited MPs' opposition to racism and to sexism as a key reason why Trump should be blocked from making an address.
"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."
Bercow’s intervention is controversial as the Speaker must remain politically impartial at all times.
The Spectator’s James Forsyth said that Bercow was “out of order and premature”. He added: “One wonders if Bercow has taken sufficient soundings across the House before making this headline-grabbing announcement.”
Broadcaster Piers Morgan accused Bercow of fanning “anti-Trump hysteria” and sent an apology via Twitter to the US president.
Nevertheless Bercow was widely applauded by opposition MPs for speaking his mind.
Immediately afterwards, Labour veteran Dennis Skinner rose to his feet to say “well done” to the Speaker, while Jeremy Corbyn and many other opposition MPs made their support clear on Twitter.