John Bercow is wrong. Even about Trump, the Speaker must be impartial | Nadhim Zahawi

The position of Speaker of the House of Commons is perhaps the most prestigious role in the Palace of Westminster, and by extension, in legislatures throughout the world. Along with our monarch, the Speaker’s ability to express their views to the government privately, yet show total impartiality publicly, is a cornerstone of British democracy. Upon appointment to the role of Speaker, the member of parliament is required to withdraw any party affiliation in order to guarantee absolute neutrality when presiding over debate. But yesterday, instead of moderating the debate, the Speaker breached that neutrality and made himself the story.

It was unwise of him to take a position that was so blatantly contrary to that of our elected government, that of many members of the House he is supposed to represent, and that of the legitimately elected president of our closest ally – the US.

I was among the first of my colleagues to speak out publicly against the president’s executive order, and even led an emergency debate with Ed Miliband that condemned the order as divisive, discriminatory and counterproductive. I could not have been clearer that I am totally and unequivocally opposed to the president’s current immigration policy. I have also spoken out against his comments on women, Mexicans and disabled people. But I am not opposed to inviting him here, to the Palace of Westminster, as part of his state visit.


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