Is speaker John Bercow an embarrassment to the House of Commons for refusing to allow Trump to address parliamentarians?

President Of Indonesia Addresses The Houses Of Parliament
John Bercow with the President of Indonesia (Source: Getty)

Alex Deane, a City of London common councilman, says Yes.

In some ways this question is redundant as John Bercow has been a standing embarrassment to our Parliament since he became speaker, lavishing great chunks of cash on, well, his own comforts immediately after being elected – mostly by mischievous Labour MPs, but without the support of his own former party.

He is perhaps the most self-aggrandising man in the House (which is going some), preening and pontificating at every opportunity. But he’s outdone himself over this.

Those seeking to outdo one another with anti-Trump rhetoric seem not to have gathered that reality bites. Trump is now President and leader of our most important ally, like it or not, and we have to make the best of it. But sadly it matters more when Bercow does it, as it’s the speaker’s job to rise above such things, not indulge in them.

He likes all of the pomp (and expense) of his position, but delivers none of the gravitas or responsibility. He embarrasses himself, and us, with this pointless bellowing. Again.

Rachel Cunliffe, deputy editor of Reaction, says No.

John Bercow’s announcement that he would block President Trump from speaking in Westminster Hall was unprecedented and unexpected. It was also entirely his prerogative.

Addressing Westminster Hall is a privilege, not a right, and it is the speaker’s to bestow. It is not even a standard part of a state visit – of the eight people to have spoken there, the only US President is Barack Obama.

Bercow is now being accused of hypocrisy for objecting to this but not to other state visits, but precedent and tradition are both on his side. It was Theresa May who broke protocol by offering a full state visit to a President within seven days of his inauguration.

Since then, Trump has demonstrated he has no interest in the customary diplomacy of a President. His Muslim ban is racist, discriminatory, and possibly illegal. By refusing to grant him the highest honour of our political system, Bercow is defending British values and maintaining respect for our democratic institutions. We should be proud.

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