The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow , has a effectively banned the US President Donald Trump from addressing both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall – during his forthcoming state visit – and has done so following a Point of Order from Penarth Labour MP Stephen Doughty.
Doughty had already tabled a so-called “Early Day Motion” calling on MPs to “deplore” the forthcoming state-visit of the US President to the UK and urging them not to allow him to deliver a speech anywhere in the Palace of Westminster.
This afternoon Doughty raised a Point of Order with the Speaker asking what discussions had taken place with the “keyholders” regarding the “offering of the honour of a speech to both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster”.
It appeared from the exchange that this was a pre-arranged scenario which seemed to have been deliberately engineered to provide the Speaker with an opportunity to make his announcement.
The Speaker said the right of a foreign leader to make a speech to both houses of Parliament was an “earned honour” and the opportunity was not automatically granted to every foreign leader on a State visit .
Bercow said that before the “Migrant Ban” he had already been opposed to President Trump giving an address in Westminster Hall. After the “ban” he was even more opposed to President Trump giving such an address in Westminster Hall .
Speaker Bercow said he didn’t have as strong a say as to whether or not the President could deliver a speech in the “Royal Gallery” [an alternative location in the Palace of Westminster] although he [ Bercow] would be one of the two signatories to such an invitation and he would not sign it.
He said if a State Visit took place it was a matter above the pay grade of the Speaker but as far as “this place” [ the Palace of Westminster] 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 for the House of Commons”
There was clapping and applause from the Opposition benches – but no cheers from the Conservative benches of the Commons .Parliamentary sources say this afternoon’s events also raise a second question: to what degree is Doughty representing the views of the constituents of Cardiff South and Penarth?