Updated 2/6/17, 7:32 PM CET
LONDON — Donald Trump should not be allowed to address the U.K. parliament during his state visit later this year, the Speaker of the House of Commons said Monday.
In a rare intervention, John Bercow said MPs’ “opposition to racism and to sexism” and “support for equality and an independent judiciary” were “hugely important considerations.”
The speaker is supposed to take a non-partisan stance on political issues. But responding to a motion tabled by Labour MP Stephen Doughty calling for Trump to be barred from making an address at the Palace of Westminster, Bercow said he was “strongly opposed” to the idea and would not give his consent.
Bercow’s statement will come as an embarrassment to Prime Minister Theresa May, who has faced criticism for inviting Trump to make a state visit to the U.K. so early in his presidency.
Visiting foreign leaders occasionally address MPs and members of the House of Lords. To do so is considered a major honor by U.K. lawmakers, and has in recent years has been offered to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.