John Bercow’s speech
House of Commons
An address by a foreign leader to both House of Parliament is not an automatic right. It is an earned honour. Moreover, there are many precedents for state visits to take place to our country which do not include an address to both Houses of Parliament. That’s the first point.
In relation to Westminster Hall, there are three key holders to Westminster Hall: The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Speaker of the House of Lords and the Lord Great Chamberlain.
Ordinarily we are able to work by consensus and the hall would be used for a purpose, such as an address or another purpose by agreement of the three key holders.
I must say to the honourable gentleman, to all who signed his early day motion and to others with strong views about this matter on either side of the argument, that before the imposition of the migrant ban I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall.
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.
So far as the Royal Gallery is concerned, again I operate on advice, I do not perhaps have as strong a say in that matter. It is in a different part of the building, although customarily an invitation to a visiting leader to deliver an address there would be issued in the names of the two speakers.
I would not wish to issue an invitation to President Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery.
And I conclude by saying to the honourable gentleman this: We value our relationship with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker.
However, as far as this place [the Commons] 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 in the House of Commons