Prime Minister Theresa May has (kind of) invited the American president to a state visit, but the controversy over Trump generated unprecedented public opposition, including a petition to stop the visit that has garnered more than a million signatures. John Bercow, speaker of the House of Commons, responded to the controversy by saying that Trump will not be allowed to address Parliament. “We value our relationship with the United States,” Bercow told the House. “If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay grade of the Speaker. However, as far as this place is concerned I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.”
Normally, Bercow’s words would set policy for the House, but it’s not clear if May’s government will accept the speaker’s ruling on this matter. Speaking to the Guardian, a member of May’s government said the speaker’s decision was “hugely political and out of line.” The entire dispute is further evidence of the diminished reputation of the United States under Trump.