The MP for Foyle, Mark Durkan, has defended the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, after Conservative MPs criticised him for saying U.S. President Donald Trump should not be permitted to address parliament during a state visit.
Some MPs said Mr. Bercow had put the neutrality of his position at risk when he said President Trump was unfit to speak in Westminster Hall because of parliament’s opposition “to racism and to sexism”.
“I made the point last week that many of us have stood up during debates or at different events in the House of Commons or at Westminster saying we will show racism a ‘red card’, we will show sectarianism a ‘red card’, and that therefore we shouldn’t be showing the ‘red carpet’ to Donald Trump,” said Mr. Durkan.
The SDLP MP went on to say that the criticism of Mr. Bercow was “unfair” and the decision to extend a state visit invitation to President Trump was “premature”.
“I think it is unfair for people to criticise The Speaker for creating a controversy without recognising that the real sources of controversy are President Trump’s egregious policies and Theresa May’s premature announcement of a state visit.
“The Speaker has rightly pointed out that state visits do not always have to include an address in Parliament – and that Parliament is not obliged to extend any such invitation,” said Mr. Durkan.