Just over a quarter of the UK’s MPs have now signed a motion calling for US president Donald Trump to be barred from making an address in the palace of Westminster during his state visit this year.
Trump has already been invited to the UK by Prime Minister Theresa May, with a date for his arrival yet to be confirmed.
Although his presidency is just weeks old, it has generated substantial protests, with thousands gathering in central London last week to reject Trump’s entry ban on passport holders from seven African and Middle Eastern countries.
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And now a total of 163 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion put forward by Labour MP Stephen Doughty, which argues Trump should not be granted the opportunity to address both MPs and peers in parliament during his visit.
The cross-party motion has been signed by Labour and Scottish National Party MPs, although no Conservatives have yet lent their support.
Any plans for Trump to speak in the Houses of Parliament would have to be rubber-stamped by three “keyholders” – the House of Commons speaker, the Lords speaker and the Lord Great Chamberlain.
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And addresses in Westminster Hall in particular have traditionally been restricted to just a small number of speakers, with Barack Obama becoming the first US President to speak in the hall in 2011.
The Sunday Telegraph yesterday reported that Commons speaker John Bercow is pushing for any address to take place in the palace’s less prestigious Royal Gallery.
Several MPs have already expressed disquiet about Trump’s visit, and a debate will be staged later this month on whether it was appropriate to invite the US President so shortly after his election.
The full motion:
That this House deplores recent actions taken by US President Donald J Trump, including his Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees, and notably his comments on torture and women; notes the historical significance and honour that comes with an invitation to address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster; and calls on the Speaker, Lord Speaker, Black Rod and Serjeant at Arms to withhold permission from the Government for an address to be made in Westminster Hall, or elsewhere in the Palace of Westminster, by President Trump.