WHAT A BERC!

MPs slam Speaker over Trump Com­mons ban

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By COLIN HURST news@sun­daysport.co.uk

JOHN Ber­cow should “think about his po­si­tion” af­ter MPs slammed him for his plan to block Don­ald Trump from speak­ing to Par­lia­ment on a state visit.

Tory Nad­him Za­hawi called the Speaker a ‘hyp­ocrite’ af­ter his out­burst in the House of Com­mons.

The Speaker said the travel ban on peo­ple from seven mainly-Mus­lim coun­tries, and refugees, had hard­ened his hos­til­ity to al­low­ing him the pres­tige of ad­dress­ing West­min­ster Hall dur­ing the visit.

“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,” Mr Ber­cow told MPs.

But Iraqi-born MP Mr Za­hawi, who was sharply crit­i­cal of Mr Trump’s travel ban af­ter learn­ing he could be caught up in it, said Mr Ber­cow should ex­plain his re­marks to Par­lia­ment

He said the Speaker was a hyp­ocrite, hav­ing in­vited Chi­nese pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­spite MPs be­ing un­happy about his pol­icy on Ti­bet, and the emir of Kuwait, which bans Bri­tish dual na­tion­als of Is­raeli ori­gin, to speak in Par­lia­ment.

“He opens him­self up to the ac­cu­sa­tion of hypocrisy, that’s my point,” said Mr Za­hawi.

“It’s un­wise to ban the le­git­i­mately elected pres­i­dent of the United States, our clos­est ally, when we’re try­ing to urge them not to shoot from the hip, not to ban peo­ple, to ex­er­cise res­traint.”

Crit­i­cal

The Chair­man of the Com­mons For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee was also crit­i­cal of Mr Ber­cow, say­ing he should not have tried to speak for all MPs.

Crispin Blunt said: “He has no idea whether he will be speak­ing for a ma­jor­ity of the House of Com­mons, and this is why Speak­ers do not ex­press their opin­ion.

“That’s the en­tire point, oth­er­wise they can’t re­main neu­tral and above the po­lit­i­cal fray.”

Ex-cabi­net min­is­ter John Whit­ting­dale ac­cused Mr Ber­cow of “play­ing to the gallery for as much pub­lic­ity as pos­si­ble”.

He said Mr Ber­cow’s ac­tions had “caused deep em­bar­rass­ment”.

For­mer Chan­cel­lor Lord La­mont said Mr Ber­cow “has made a ter­ri­ble er­ror” in crit­i­cis­ing Mr Trump.

And for­mer Ukip leader Nigel Farage said the Speaker had “in­sulted” Mr Trump.

But Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn backed the Speaker, tweet­ing: “Well said John Ber­cow. We must stand up for our coun­try’s val­ues. Trump’s state visit should not go ahead.”

NO GO: John Ber­cow wants a silent Trump (in­set)

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