The Jewish speaker of Britain’s lower house of parliament said on Monday he would not support any plans for U.S. President Donald Trump to address parliament during a state visit planned for later this year, citing Trump’s “migrant ban” as a factor.
“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,” speaker John Bercow said to applause from lawmakers.
As one of the key figures whose approval would be needed for any parliamentary address, Bercow said he would oppose any possible move to invite Trump to speak in either of the two locations which host foreign leaders during state visits.
Bercow was born to a Jewish family in London’s Edgware. He started in politics as a right-wing Conservative but drifted towards the political center over time.
Prime Minister Theresa May has defended the decision to offer a state visit, but more than 150 lawmakers have signed a symbolic motion calling for Trump not to be given the honor of speaking in parliament.
“An address by a foreign leader to both houses of parliament is not an automatic right,” Bercow said. “It is an earned honor.”