Tories question John Bercow's motives for barring Donald Trump from speaking Parliament

Anonymous government members believe the episode was 'orchestrated'

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Saturday 11 February 2017 10:21 GMT
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow
Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow (PA)

Cabinet ministers are suspicious that John Bercow may have “orchestrated” a row over Donald Trump’s state visit in order to rally support for his continuation of Speaker, it has been reported.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports that multiple anonymous Cabinet ministers think the Speaker’s intervention this week saying he was “strongly opposed” to the US president speaking in Westminster Hall or the Royal Gallery was political maneuvering.

Though formerly a Conservative MP Mr Bercow was elected as Commons speaker with the support of Labour MPs. He has long had a persistent group of critics on the traditionalist wing of the Conservative party.

He fought off a bid to remove him as Speaker just before the 2015 general election. This week Conservative MP James Duddridge tabled an early day motion calling for no confidence in Mr Bercow, though as yet he is the only MP to sign it.

“Bercow did this to win Labour, SNP and Lib Dem support for staying on,” a senior member of Theresa May’s Government repotedly told the Daily Telegraph.

“He has orchestrated the whole thing.”

On Monday, responding to a point of order about Mr Trump’s state visit, Mr Bercow cited “racism”, “sexism” and “support for an independent judiciary” as among reasons why he would not invite Mr Trump

“We value our relationship with the United States. However, as far as this place 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,” he told MPs at the time.

“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.”

Mr Bercow has received strong support from many Labour, SNP, and Liberal Democrat MPs for his stance.

MPs elect the Speaker from among their own ranks at the start of each parliamentary term. The Speaker is bound to be politically impartial and renounces all party allegiance upon their appointment.

Mr Trump was invited to the UK on a state visit by Theresa May while she was in the US.

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