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House of Commons speaker John Bercow should “consider his position” a senior Conservative backbencher has said, amid rising criticism for his intervention in the row over Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.
Addressing MPs on Monday, Mr Bercow said he was “strongly opposed” to affording the new US president the honour of addressing parliament.
Nadhim Zahawi, a Conservative backbencher told the BBC Today programme, that the speaker should “ought to think about his position”, adding:
He should come to parliament and at least explain why he think it’s different (to other state visits). He prides himself on his neutrality and speaking for the whole of parliament and I think to become the story is a bad place to be.
Mr Trump has in effect been barred from addressing parliament after the speaker said the US president’s “racism and sexism” meant he did not deserve the honour.
By custom, invitations to address parliament are issued in the name of the Commons speaker, as well as at least one other official.
For addresses to Westminster Hall, an invitation is usually made by agreement of the speakers of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and the Lord Great Chamberlain.
Lord Fowler, speaker of the House of Lords, will make his position clear in a statement later today, but a spokesman for the Lords said he had not been consulted on Mr Bercow’s statement, paving the way for a possible row between the Commons and Lords over the issue.
Crispin Blunt, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee said: “Generally the speaker, who’s meant to referee all of this, should keep himself above that.”
He said the speaker’s comments were “to be regretted. But it is a symptom of the controversy around this visit.”