LONDON, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- John Bercow, the speaker of Britain's lower house of parliament, said Monday that he was strongly opposed to U.S. President Donald Trump addressing Parliament during his proposed state visit.
Bercow's comments are the strongest message so far against the honor to be granted to Trump, reflecting the intense protests worldwide after Trump's temporary immigration ban, among other issues.
Bercow told members of parliament (MPs) that before the imposition of Trump's controversial migrant ban, he would have been strongly opposed to an address by the U.S. president in Westminster Hall.
"After the imposition of the migrant ban, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall," Bercow said.
Under the rules in force at the Palace of Westminster, Speaker Bercow is one of the three officials required to agree to any visitor addressing the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
Without his agreement, it will not be possible for Trump to address Parliament.
"As far as this place (parliament) is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons," Bercow said.
The speaker also made it clear that he would not wish to issue an invitation to Trump to speak in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster.
Bercow's remarks won him applause from lawmakers.
So far more than 160 MPs have already signed a symbolic motion opposing an address by Trump in the centuries-old Westminster Hall, citing the travel ban and his comments on torture and women.
Trump's executive order barring entry to the United States for refugees and people from seven Muslim-majority countries has prompted worldwide protests, including by thousands of demonstrators in London.
A speech at British Parliament has been a feature of many state visits, including one by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama in 2011. Westminster Hall also hosted South Africa's Nelson Mandela and France's Charles de Gaulle.
"An address by a foreign leader to both houses of parliament is not an automatic right; it is an earned honor," said Bercow.
Bercow's comments were unusual because his role requires him to remain above the partisan fray.
In addition to his explicit "no" to Trump's speech in Parliament, Bercow showed little enthusiasm about the new U.S. leader's state visit.
"We value our relationship with the United States. If a state visit takes place, that is way beyond and above the pay grade of the speaker," Bercow said.
Opposition Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn praised Bercow for his stance.
"We must stand up for our country's values. Trump's state visit should not go ahead," Corbyn said.
Political commentators in Westminster predicted that Bercow's public declaration would enrage the Downing Street.
British Prime Minister Theresa May traveled to Washington last month, becoming the first national leader to meet Trump after his inauguration, and she invited Trump for a state visit.
No date has yet been fixed for Trump's visit. But a petition opposed to him meeting Queen Elizabeth II during the visit has been signed by almost 2 million people.
Parliament will debate the petition later this month.