COMMENTS made by the House of Commons Speaker yesterday about President Donald Trump were ‘rehearsed’ during an audience at the University of Reading last week, it has been revealed.
During a visit to the Earley-based university on Friday, February 3, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP expressed his opposition to the US President’s planned state visit during a talk with Politics & International Relations undergraduates.
Three days later, Mr Bercow told the House of Commons that opposing racism and sexism were ‘hugely important considerations’ for MPs following Mr Trump’s decision to impose a temporary travel ban on people travelling to the US from seven mainly Muslim countries.
The Speaker was invited to the university to discuss his early political career, parliamentary reform and his relationship with notable Parliamentarians during a Q&A session with students, before giving a wider talk in the evening.
Mr Bercow said: “I was very engaged by the well-informed students. They asked a wide variety of penetrating questions about the role of the Speaker in the Chamber, about the types of reforms I tried to make, and about how the Speaker combines being an impartial chair with an active local MP.
“I’ve hugely enjoyed my visit to the University of Reading. Studying politics is good because it’s such a key part of society. People might think they’re not interested, but politics does affect people whether they like it or not. The development of the study of politics is tremendously positive.”
Lecturer Dr Mark Shanahan said: “Following recent visits by key speakers including Sir Vince Cable and US Ambassador Matthew Barzun, we were delighted to welcome ‘Mr Speaker’ as our latest political voice.
“Attracting John Bercow here is a demonstration of our approach in the Politics & International Relations department to new ways to teach and engage students. We are breaking the barriers between the politics of books and journals and the realities of practitioners who live and breathe the world we study.
“His talk at the university was pretty much a dress rehearsal of what he said in Parliament – first to students, and then to the evening audience. I think we proved to be a good test audience for his thoughts, which obviously came to full fruition on Monday.”