WHAT A BERC!
MPs slam Speaker over Trump Commons ban
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.”
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)