NEW YORK CITY (JTA) – The Jewish speaker of Britain’s House of Commons said President Donald Trump should not be welcomed to address the British Parliament.
“Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall,” John Bercow told his colleagues on Monday, referring to Trump’s temporary order barring entry to refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim nations. “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’s comments were greeted with enthusiastic applause.
Trump was invited to visit Britain by Prime Minister Theresa May, who met with the president at the White House last month. Trump announced he would be visiting the United Kingdom later this year.
Bercow, whose paternal grandparents were Romanian Jewish immigrants to England, attended the Finchley Reform Synagogue and had a bar mitzvah, although he now considers himself secular.
As one of the three so-called key holders at Westminster Hall, Bercow said he would use his position to prevent Trump from addressing Parliament. Saying the decision whether to invite him to England at all is “way beyond and above the pay grade of the speaker,” Bercow said that opposition to racism and sexism and support for an independent judiciary are “hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
Addressing Parliament, Bercow said, is an “earned honor,” not an “automatic right.”