President Trump is still not welcome to address the British Parliament, U.K. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said Tuesday, arguing that Mr. Trump has done nothing over the past two years to earn that right.
Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, Mr. Bercow — a colorful figure who has come to prominence while presiding over Brexit negotiations in Parliament — defended his decision in early 2017 to deny Mr. Trump the chance to speak before British lawmakers. Such an honor was granted to former President Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders.
But inviting Mr. Trump, the British speaker argued in 2017, would run contrary to Parliament’s “opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary.”
Since then, nothing has changed, Mr. Bercow said.
“I have nothing to add to or subtract from what I said in February 2017,” he said Tuesday. “Nothing has happened since then to cause me to change my mind.”
Mr. Bercow said that the White House has not formally requested an opportunity for Mr. Trump to address Parliament when he visits London next week, though it’s clear he would deny such a request if it were made.
While Mr. Bercow stressed that there’s no “unbreakable norm” that says a U.S. president must be allowed to speak before British lawmakers, Mr. Obama was given such an opportunity in 2011. In fact, he spoke in Westminster Hall, which Mr. Bercow said is the most prestigious venue available.
“President Obama was invited to address both houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall and that was very well received. His address was very well received,” Mr. Bercow said. “He was a comparatively popular president in Europe and indeed … in the U.K. And he was also, of course, the first black president of the United States.”