Sir Lindsay Hoyle ‘bans’ Chinese officials from late Queen’s lying in state

A delegation of Chinese government officials will not be allowed to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state in Parliament after Sir Lindsay Hoyle imposed a ban on Beijing representatives, it has been claimed.

Sir Lindsay, the Commons Speaker, has reportedly refused a request for a Chinese delegation to enter Westminster Hall to pay their respects.

Both the BBC and Politico reported that Sir Lindsay had banned the delegation amid a long-running dispute between Parliament and the Chinese government over the sanctioning of MPs.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, has been invited to the Queen’s state funeral on Monday but he is not expected to attend and it is thought the vice president, Wang Qishan, will be sent in his place.

However, while China will be represented in some capacity at the funeral at Westminster Abbey, Beijing officials will not be able to attend the lying in state despite it taking place just a stone’s throw away.

Human rights abuses

Westminster Hall forms part of the parliamentary estate and as such is under the control of the Commons Speaker and the Lord Speaker.

The House of Commons told the BBC that it does not comment on security matters.

The decision to ban the Chinese delegation is likely to further inflame tensions between the UK Parliament and Beijing.

China sanctioned nine individuals and four organisations in the UK in March last year in retaliation after Britain imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative Party, as well as Tory MPs Tom Tugendhat, Neil O’Brien, Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani were among those sanctioned as they and their families were banned from entering Chinese territory.

In September last year, the Chinese ambassador to the UK was banned from Parliament after an invitation for him to visit the Commons sparked outrage among the sanctioned MPs.

Sir Lindsay and Lord McFall, the Lord Speaker, stepped in at the last minute to stop Zheng Zeguang setting foot on the Westminster estate.

‘Project kowtow all over again’

The decision to ban the Chinese delegation from attending the lying in state comes after the sanctioned MPs sent a letter to the speakers earlier this week to seek assurances that representatives from Beijing would not be allowed onto the parliamentary estate.

They also expressed concern and anger at President Xi being invited to the funeral and called for the invite to be rescinded.

Sir Iain told Politico that it was “astonishing” that Chinese representatives had been invited and suggested it was “project kowtow all over again”.

The heads of state of all countries which the UK has full diplomatic relations with have been invited to the funeral.

Only three national governments have been banned from attending: Russia, Belarus and Myanmar.

Leave a Comment