The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, has said he is "strongly opposed" to United States (US) President Donald Trump speaking in the Commons, as reported in the Independent newspaper. As we consider what was said, let us address the key question: should Donald Trump be allowed to speak in the Commons chamber?

What happened?

But before we proceed, let us examine what exactly was said. As reported in the Guardian newspaper, Bercow is especially opposed to allowing Trump to address Parliament mainly because of their long held opposition to "racism and to sexism".

The Speaker also made the point that speaking in the "prestigious" Westminster Hall was not an "automatic right", but more an "earned honour".

The reasons why he should

Let us now address the main question: should Donald Trump be allowed to address Parliament on his state visit? As ever, there are two sides, for and against. For the former, there are a few reasons as to why he should be allowed, first of all to maintain the 'special relationship' between the two countries. This was made clear by Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May on her visit to the US as she stated the need "to renew the special relationship for this new age", as reported in The Sun newspaper. Number 10 were said to be "annoyed" at Bercow's comments.

Another reason that Trump should be allowed to speak is because preventing him many have financial implications going forward. The Financial Times newspaper stated that the PM was infuriated at what Bercow said, mainly because it may put in jeopardy the "US-UK trade deal" that is so important to Britain in light of Brexit. Another argument is that preventing Trump from addressing Parliament is hypocritical.

This is because in the past the Speaker has welcomed foreign leaders including China's Xi Jinping and the Emir of Qatar. A final point to be made is that, irrespective of what people may think, the US is an ally and it would be disrespectful to treat a friend like this.

But why he should not be allowed

And now to the other side; why Donald Trump should not be allowed to speak.

One key argument is that by allowing the President to speak may in some way legitimise what he stands for. His comments and actions have caused condemnation throughout the world and in welcoming him with open arms may send out the wrong message. Another related point is that the UK Parliament stands for certain values: equality and justice to name but a few. But in allowing someone who clearly does not believe in those values threatens to tarnish the reputation of the Commons chamber as a champion of those such values. There has also been extensive opposition within Parliament to Trump speaking. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and others have stated that Trump's visit should be cancelled until he reverses his "Muslim ban" on travelers, as reported in the Independent newspaper.

The problem is that Parliament is a representative body for the people. The MP's represent their citizens and so the government must act in accordance with the views of those elected officials. The PM cannot simply go it alone; she needs to act in accordance with Parliament.


So, should Trump be allowed to visit? Whilst I oppose his policies, it is important to not rock the boat at the moment. The UK needs the US and this means that stability is required. It would also be hugely disrespectful to Trump. But if he is allowed to speak, I dread to think the reception that he will get.