Government plans to invite Donald Trump to address parliament during his state visit look set to be dropped, as officials seek to avoid a potentially embarrassing row with the Commons speaker.
It comes after Downing Street announced last week that the US president will arrive in London for a three-day visit in June to coincide with the 75th D-Day commemorations.
But given previous condemnation of Mr Trump from the Commons speaker John Bercow, uncertainty has surrounded whether he will address MPs and peers in the historic Westminster Hall – an honour previously bestowed on Barack Obama in 2011.
Before his first official visit to the UK as US president last summer, Mr Bercow said he was “strongly opposed” to granting Mr Trump permission to address the House given his administration’s highly-contentious ban on migrants from certain Muslim countries.
It is understood that Buckingham Palace is in charge of requesting an invitation on behalf of Theresa May‘s government and the White House for the US president to speak at Westminster Hall, but it is feared a rejection would embarrass the monarchy.
On Tuesday a senior government source admitted: “The Commons speaker has made his opposition clear. It doesn’t feel like it’s going to happen.”
Last week foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt offered his support for the US president to address MPs and and peers. “I think it is very important when you have a state visit by our closest and most important ally that we think about the office as much as the person,” Mr Hunt said.
“I hope we make the best possible welcome for President Trump. He is a controversial politician, but in the end, his visit is about more than [Mr] Trump’s policies, it is about the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom that goes back many, many years.”
It comes after the Commons speaker joined the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat chief Sir Vince Cable in rejecting an invitation to attend a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in honour of the US president.
In a statement on Friday, Mr Corbyn said the prime minister should not be “rolling out the red carpet” for Mr Trump, “who rips up vital international treaties, backs climate change denial and uses racist and misogynistic rhetoric”.
He added: “Maintaining an important relationship with the United State does not require the pomp and ceremony of a state visit. It is disappointing that the prime minister has opted to kowtow to this US administration.”