Tory anger as Chinese vice-president views Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall after ‘U-turn’ by Parliament’s Speakers
Following an apparent U-turn by the parliamentary authorities, vice-premier Wang Qishan was pictured in the historic hall last night ahead of the state funeral.
Senior MPs complained that Beijing was being ‘appeased’ despite a slew of British politicians being sanctioned for criticising human rights abuses.
However, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has denied being ‘leant’ on to allow the officials access.
Following an apparent U-turn by the parliamentary authorities, vice-premier Wang Qishan (pictured centre) was in Westminster Hall last night ahead of the state funeral
World leaders have been paying respects to the Queen in the historic hall
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured) has denied being ‘leant’ on to allow the Chinese officials access
There had initially been an expectation that Chinese officials would be barred from Westminster while seven UK MPs and peers remain sanctioned by Beijing.
Last September, Sir Lindsay and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, blocked the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, from visiting Parliament.
The Commons Speaker argued at the time that it would not be ‘appropriate’ for the ambassador to meet at the Commons while seven British parliamentarians were sanctioned.
However, Sir Lindsay has clarified that the block was only on attending ‘receptions’ in Parliament.
He told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show: ‘Nobody has been leaning on me at all. Far from it.
‘My view remains the same, that we would not welcome (a) reception in Parliament. And that’s when I stopped the ambassador and accredited Chinese from coming into the House of Commons.
‘So let’s be clear: to hold a reception in the House of Commons when MPs and a peer has been sanctioned is not acceptable. My view remains the same and nothing has changed.
‘The sanction against those accredited officials remains in place and will remain so.’
According to Erskine May – known as the ‘bible’ of parliamentary procedure – Westminster Hall is under the joint control of the Lord Great Chamberlain and the speakers of the Commons and the Lords.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent his deputy Wang to attend the funeral today.
Senior Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith reacted with fury to the news that Chinese representatives were being allowed to attend the Queen’s lying-in-state
Senior Tory MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Tim Loughton had raised concerns about a delegation’s possible attendance, arguing it was ‘extraordinary’ that one had received an invitation.
Sir Iain told the Telegraph: ‘It’s clear and obvious that the Establishment leant on the Speakers to give way.
‘The people that win at the end of the day, are the Chinese Communist party which is a brutal, dictatorial and anti-human rights organisation and all we’ve done is given them another victory.
‘It looks like appeasement is back, alive and well in the British Establishment.’