Speaker John Bercow recently declared his opposition to President Trump addressing MPs in Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery:
“After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump… I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery…
“I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and independent judiciary are hugely important considerations”.
Perhaps the Speaker should adhere to the principle which William Lenthall expressed in his famous remark to Charles I, when the Speaker told the King:
‘I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as this house is pleased to direct me’.
It is notable that Bercow has previously welcomed worse characters. Just two years ago, the President of China addressed the Royal Gallery. If Bercow expressed indignation at Trump today, why had he nothing to say about human rights abuses in China then?
The row may benefit Bercow
Government sources believe that Bercow may have orchestrated the rows.
The Telegraph reports that Cabinet ministers believe Bercow intentionally created the row as part of a plot to ensure that he stay on as Commons Speaker until at least 2020 (two years longer than expected).
With his announcement, Bercow has secured the support of numerous Labour, Liberal Democrats and SNP MPs. These MPs will vote against any motion to oust him.
Bercow should practice restraint
The Speaker appears to enjoy talking about himself – whether it’s sharing his views on Donald Trump or telling students he voted for Britain to remain in the EU.
Bercow must overcome this disposition, for the role of Speaker demands impartiality, tact and discretion.