Ban on Chinese officials visiting coffin reversed

“My view remains the same, that we would not welcome receptions in parliament and that’s when I stopped the ambassador and accredited Chinese from coming into the House of Commons.

“To hold a reception in the House of Commons when MPs and peers have been sanctioned is not acceptable.

“My view remains the same, and nothing has changed, but this is not about politics for the moment, this is about the grief we all share.”

He urged the Chinese to lift the sanctions on MPs.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith hit out at the establishment.

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“The establishment is always wrong, this is another example of the establishment’s appeasement, just as they got it wrong in the 1930s,” he told The Herald and The Age.

“It’s an embarrassment for the UK because it shows how weak we are in the face of Chinese bullying and it doesn’t augur well for the future,” he said.

David Alton, one of the sanctioned Members of the Lords, said the decision was “divisive, inept and deeply offensive.”

“It’s a bad decision because it is full of inconsistencies and illogicalities,” he said.

“It’s a bad decision because it puts the King, the prime minister, the Speaker and Lord Speaker in a wholly avoidable and invidious position. And most importantly of all it’s a bad decision because it is an affront to all those who suffer at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a statement.

Tim Loughton, another of the MPs who is sanctioned by China and wrote to the Speaker last week requesting the Chinese be banned, said the changed stance was “deeply disturbing.”

“It is deeply disturbing if the news about the Speakers caving in to pressure to allow the Chinese delegation into Westminster Hall,” he told this masthead.

“Last year the Chinese Ambassador was banned from coming to the Palace of Westminster as the highest representative of the Chinese government in the UK and in specific response to that government’s decision to sanction seven Parliamentarians from speaking up and doing their job.

“It would be bizarre now to claim that the same ban should not apply to someone even higher in the Chinese regime who had an even closer hand in trying to suppress the right of free speech in an elected democracy.

“If the Speakers have kowtowed to Chinese pressure it sends a very dangerous message to Beijing that despite strong words they can always get their way by throwing their weight around and we had hoped that parliament would be resolute in standing against such bullying tactics,” he said.

The foreign office did not respond to a request for comment.

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