The Speaker of the British House of Commons says he will oppose any attempt by U.S. President Donald Trump to address parliamentarians, citing sexism and racism.
“As far as this place (parliament) 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,” Speaker John Bercow told MPs in parliament on Monday.
Bercow said he would be “strongly opposed” to any attempt to have Trump address the House of Commons, as former president Barack Obama did in Canada’s Parliament last summer
Trump has been invited for a state visit by the British government on behalf of the Queen (Buckingham Palace must approve these types of invites in advance). Trump accepted after meeting British Prime Minister Theresa May last month in Washington.
A petition to withdraw the invitation has since received almost two million signatures. It is expected to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons on Feb. 20.
Bercow, a Conservative, has been the U.K. Speaker since 2009. He is one of three people who would need to approve an address to parliament by the U.S. president.
“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,” Bercow explained.
Trump has not yet met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The two leaders are expected to meet face-to-face at some point in the next month.