The Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi has said the Speaker of the House of Commons risks being seen as hypocritical for refusing to allow Donald Trump to speak at Westminster when he raised no objections to the likes of China’s Xi Jinping.
John Bercow said Trump was unfit to address MPs at Westminster Hall during his upcoming state visit because of parliament’s opposition “to racism and to sexism”. Bercow’s intervention was unprecedented and angered some ministers.
Zahawi has previously criticised Trump over his order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US. The Baghdad-born MP initially believed it would stop him travelling to the country.
But speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Zahawi said Bercow had put his neutrality at risk and should explain to the Commons why Trump would be barred while he had welcomed the likes of President Xi and the Emir of Kuwait.
“I think the Speaker was unwise to speak out,” Zahawi said. “He prides himself on his neutrality, to speak for the whole of parliament, and I think to become the story is a bad place to be.”
Bercow “opens himself up to the accusation of hypocrisy”, Zahawi said, noting that many MPs were unhappy with China’s repression in Tibet, while Kuwait barred Britons with dual Israeli nationality.
Zahawi added: “I think he ought to think about his position, and he should come to parliament, at least, to explain why he thinks it’s different for President…