Chinese ambassador to UK barred from Parliament, Speaker Lindsay Hoyle announces

The Chinese embassy in London responded in a strongly-worded message after the Chinese ambassador to the UK was barred from Parliament, ITV News Deputy Political Editor Anushka Asthana reports

The Chinese ambassador to the UK has been barred from Parliament while sanctions imposed by China remain against a number of MPs and peers.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he could not allow Zheng Zeguang onto the estate while his country has "imposed sanctions against some of our members".

He said: “I regularly hold meetings with ambassadors from across the world to establish enduring ties between countries and parliamentarians.

“But I do not feel it’s appropriate for the ambassador for China to meet on the Commons estate and in our place of work when his country has imposed sanctions against some of our members.

“If those sanctions were lifted, then of course this would not be an issue.

“I am not saying the meeting cannot go ahead – I am just saying it cannot take place here while those sanctions remain in place.”

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and other sanctioned politicians welcomed the “strong principled stand” taken by the speakers.

They acted following outrage at the invite onto the estate issued to Mr Zeguang by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on China.

Sir Iain and a group of his sanctioned colleagues – Crossbencher Lord Alton, Labour’s Baroness Kennedy, and Tory MPs Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani – welcomed the move, saying allowing the diplomat onto the estate would have been “an insult to Parliament”.

“We the Sanctioned welcome the strong principled stand made by the Speaker and Lord Speaker in standing up for freedom of speech in the mother of Parliaments by supporting those Parliamentarians who have been sanctioned by China,” they said in a joint statement.

The Chinese embassy in the UK condemned the move branding it “despicable and cowardly”.

An embassy spokesman said: “The despicable and cowardly action of certain individuals of the UK Parliament to obstruct normal exchanges and co-operation between China and the UK for personal political gains is against the wishes and harmful to the interests of the peoples of both countries.”