The Speaker of the House of Lords has slapped down his counterpart in the House of Commons over his decision to effectively ban U.S. President Donald J. Trump from addressing Parliament.
Lord Fowler said he “was not consulted” on the decision, which is usually only made after a “serious discussion” between to the two speakers and the Lord Great Chamberlain.
He said, however, that Commons Speaker John Bercow contacted him Tuesday morning. “He told me that while he maintained his view on the issue he was genuinely sorry for failing to consult with me. Obviously I accepted that apology,” the Lord Speaker said.
Lord Fowler also failed to back up Mr Bercow’s comments on the U.S. President, saying: “My view is that I will keep an open mind and consider any request for Mr Trump to address Parliament if and when it is made.”
“I do not intend to argue the case for or against Mr Trump’s visit – that is not my role as Speaker,” Lord Fowler added.
He conceded that both he and Mr Bercow effectively had the ability to “veto” any invitation for a world leader to address Parliament, but added: “Before we reach this point there should be, at the very least, some effort to reach consensus and a serious discussion on what the decision should be. I hope that we can now return to that previous practice.”
The Lord Speaker’s comments will be seen as a blunt rebuke to Mr Bercow, who yesterday told the House of Commons that he was opposed to President Trump addressing Parliament during his proposed state visit later this year.
The Commons Speaker said: “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… I am even more strongly opposed.”