The Speaker of the United Kingdom House of Commons repeated his view that President Donald Trump should not be allowed to address Parliament, The Guardian reports.
John Bercow is not backing down from his Trump ban a year after the US president’s election. He previously shut down the idea of Trump addressing Parliament as President Obama had done after British PM Theresa May invited Trump to the UK.
“An invitation to address both Houses of Parliament is not a bauble to be handed out by the prime minister of the day,” Bercow said, according to The Guardian. “It is not a government prerogative; that is a matter for the speakers of the two Houses.”
In February, Bercow said, “An address to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right; it is an earned honour. My view is that he has not earned that honour.”
“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,” he added.
Bercow told The Guardian he is “not repentant” about his strong-worded statement in February.
“I was speaking my own view. I had a sense that I was speaking for a majority of the House. I was unscripted,” he said.
He admitted that “some people think that I spoke more forcefully than I should have done” but said he made the comment in response to a number of suggestions that Trump address Parliament as Obama had one.
He said he made the decision in part because of the “huge controversy” surrounding Trump’s travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries.
He also said the suggestion to have Trump speak in Parliament came with “extraordinary” speed, explaining Obama did not address Parliament until several years into his presidency.
“The idea that the prize should be offered to President Trump within weeks of his election struck me as absolutely extraordinary,” Bercow said.
He said there were some who were “very angry” with his stance but added, “I genuinely felt I was speaking for a majority of my colleagues”.
There is no confirmed schedule for Trump’s planned visit to the United Kindom, which has reportedly been delayed due to concerns over protests.
According to The Sun, Trump planned to visit the UK this past June before the trip was delayed until this past October when it was delayed again “until people support him coming.”
According to The Guardian, Trump told May directly that he did not want to visit if there were going to be widespread protests. Reports suggest he may still be planning a trip next year.
A poll found that 4 percent of UK residents, roughly 2 million people, would protest a state visit.
An online petition titled “Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom” has already gotten 1.86 million signatures.
Reports now suggest Trump may make a low-key trip instead of an official state visit instead.