British Speaker John Bercow wants to block President Trump's address before Parliament

LONDON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - The speaker of Britain's lower house of parliament said on Monday he would not support any plans for U.S. President Donald Trump to address parliament during a state visit planned for later this year, citing Trump's temporary immigration ban as a factor.

House of Commons speaker John Bercow said on Monday that he was "strongly opposed" to the U.S. president's addressing Parliament -- saying the opportunity to do so was "not an automatic right" but "an earned honor."

Asked by an opposition Labour lawmaker about the possibility of a parliamentary address, Bercow said he shared the concerns.

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"As far as this place (parliament) is concerned, I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations," Bercow said, earning a raucous round of applause from lawmakers.

Prime Minister Theresa May has defended the decision to offer a state visit, but more than 150 lawmakers have signed a symbolic motion calling for Trump not to be given the honor of speaking in parliament. More than 1.8 million people in Britain have signed a petition calling for Trump's planned visit to be canceled or downgraded to avoid embarrassing Queen Elizabeth, part of a grassroots backlash against his immigration policies.

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.

The temporary immigration ban faced a legal hurdle on Monday that could determine whether he can push through the most controversial and far reaching policy of his first two weeks in office.

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As one of the key figures whose approval would be needed for a parliamentary address, Bercow said he would oppose any possible move to invite Trump to speak in either of the two locations which host foreign leaders during state visits.

"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," said Bercow.

"However, as far as this place is concerned I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons."

RELATED: Protests erupt throughout US cities over Trump immigration ban

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In 2011, Trump's predecessor Barack Obama became the first U.S. president to address both houses of parliament in Westminster Hall, the oldest building in the parliamentary palace, which has also hosted South Africa's Nelson Mandela and France's Charles de Gaulle.

"Before the imposition of the migrant ban, I would myself have been strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall. After the imposition of the migrant ban by President Trump, I am even more strongly opposed to an address by President Trump in Westminster Hall," Bercow said.