An official Chinese delegation has been barred from attending the Queen’s lying in state.
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will prevent access to Westminster Hall because of sanctions imposed by Beijing against a group of MPs and peers, a parliamentary source told the PA news agency.
It came as crowds continued to pay their respects to the late monarch ahead of her state funeral on Monday.
In response, China’s ambassador to the UK was blocked from visiting parliament and this has now been extended to a delegation for the lying in state.
Sir Lindsay was upholding his position on barring Chinese state officials while the parliamentarians remain sanctioned, according to a source, confirming the story initially reported by the Politico website.
A House of Commons spokesman said “we do not comment on security matters”, while Sir Lindsay’s spokesman also declined to comment.
The move is likely to further fuel tensions between the UK and China.
China’s President Xi Jinping, who is currently meeting Russian president Vladimir Putin at a summit in Uzbekistan, is not expected to attend Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
He will be represented by vice-president Wang Qishan instead.
A number of the MPs and peers sanctioned, including Tory former ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Tim Loughton, have raised concerns about the Chinese government being invited to the funeral.
In a letter to Sir Lindsay earlier this week, they wrote: “We are greatly concerned to hear that the government of China has been invited to attend the state funeral next week, despite other countries Russia, Belarus and Myanmar being excluded.
“Given that the United Kingdom parliament has voted to recognise the genocide committed by the Chinese government against the Uighur people it is extraordinary that the architects of that genocide should be treated in any more favourable way than those countries who have been barred.”
As foreign secretary, and during her campaign to become prime minister, Liz Truss pressed for a tougher line against Beijing.
Downing Street said decisions on attendance at the funeral lay with Buckingham Palace and it was convention that those countries with which the UK has diplomatic relations should be invited.
Invitations to the Queen’s state funeral have not been sent to Russia, Belarus or Myanmar while Iran will only be represented at an ambassadorial level, it is understood.
The Kremlin has branded the decision not to invite its representatives to the Queen’s funeral as “profoundly immoral” and “blasphemous”.
Last September, Sir Lindsay and the Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith, told China’s ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang he could not come to parliament because of the sanctions.
The ban was criticised at the time by the Chinese government as “despicable and cowardly”.
Source : Sky.com