Sir Lindsay Hoyle has been widely lampooned after he described the Queen’s funeral as the “most important event the world will ever see”.
Hoyle made the comment after he denied he had been “leant on” to allow Chinese officials to attend the Queen’s lying-in-state at Westminster Hall.
Politico reported earlier in the week that the group from Beijing had been refused permission by the Commons authorities to attend the lying-in-state after Hoyle intervened.
There have been tensions between Westminster and China ever since the country imposed sanctions on MPs who have spoken out against the alleged human rights abuses against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang.
Initially, it was understood that a Chinese delegation would be able to attend the funeral but that they would not be permitted access to the lying-in-state.
However, there has been confusion after a parliamentary spokesman said on Saturday that foreign representatives “invited to attend the state funeral in Westminster Abbey are also invited to attend the lying in state”.
“Clear and obvious”
It led to Iain Duncan Smith, one of the MPs sanctioned by China, claiming in the Telegraph that the “establishment” had “leant” on Hoyle to force him to admit a Chinese delegation into Westminster Hall.
“It’s clear and obvious that the establishment leant on the Speakers to give way,” he told the newspaper.
“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.”
But today Hoyle denied that he had been “leant” on and said the Chinese ambassador and accredited officials remain barred from the House of Commons.
“Nobody has been leaning on me”
Hoyle told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “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.”
Trying to take the heat out the row, Hoyle said: “We should not allow anything to overshadow the most important event the world will ever see — and that’s the funeral of her Majesty”.