The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has blocked a potential Parliamentary address by Donald Trump. Bercow is one of three ‘keyholders’ to Westminster Hall. As such, he can block any potential invitation for Trump to speak. The move has received praise from some. It has also raised questions about whether the speaker has overstepped his role. And it has even drawn outright hostility from others. Chief among those being the unabashed Trump apologist, Nigel Farage.
The ‘Trump ban’
Bercow told MPs:
…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.
He also said:
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.
The full video of his speech can be seen here:
Farage expressed concerns that the Speaker should be neutral:
For Speaker Bercow to uphold our finest parliamentary traditions, he should be neutral. https://t.co/Nt0LIZFbKf
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 6, 2017
He then spoke to the BBC about the incident. Visibly upset, he said:
Donald Trump may be a controversial politician, but he’s coming here on a state visit, he loves this country, he gives us a big opportunity to do a trade deal, to put us back at the centre of the NATO alliance, and I’m very pleased that he’s coming. I can scarcely believe that the Speaker of the House of Commons doesn’t want him to set foot inside the Palace of Westminster. This is the most important man in the world. And for him to have effectively been accused of being sexist and racist by the Speaker today is the Speaker abusing his position.
He also shared a shortened version of the interview to Twitter:
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) February 6, 2017
Allegations of sexism and racism
[About women in general] You have to treat ’em like sh*t.
[About a 10-year-old beauty contestant] I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?
[After apologising for calling a TV presenter a ‘bimbo’] Over your life, Megyn, you’ve been called a lot worse, wouldn’t you say?
Bercow is also not the first person to accuse Trump of racism. The Huffington Post listed 15 examples of documented prejudice, which included:
He claimed a judge was biased because ‘he’s a Mexican’.
The Justice Department sued his company ― twice ― for not renting to black people.
He stereotyped Jews and shared an anti-Semitic image created by white supremacists.
Is John Bercow hypocritical?
Some people have accused Bercow of hypocrisy:
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) February 7, 2017
Britain now officially thinks CHINA has more acceptable values than AMERICA.
This is complete & utter madness. #bercow
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 6, 2017
People like Owen Jones have recently called out these sorts of accusations as a distraction tactic:
When people say you can't protest injustice until you protest every single injustice they mean don't bother opposing any at all @piersmorgan
— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) January 31, 2017
Bercow has more reason to make a stand against Trump than he would other world leaders. Britain is more closely tied to America than it is to countries like China or Saudi Arabia, and those ties are only likely to get closer as Britain leaves the EU. The UK may share business arrangements with the world, but we share a culture with the USA. We speak the same language, we watch many of the same movies, we read the same books. And it is reasonable to assume that the US embracing an openly sexist and racist President will have an impact on us. Especially as our Prime Minister shows no appetite for standing up to their President.
– Read our TrumpWatch articles.
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