CHINA’S ambassador to the UK has been barred from Parliament after MPs and peers who have been sanctioned by Beijing expressed outrage at his scheduled visit.

Zheng Zeguang was told by Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle and his counterpart in the upper chamber, Lord McFall, that he could not enter the estate for a talk scheduled for today.

With the move likely to enrage Beijing, Hoyle argued it would not be “appropriate” for the ambassador to meet at the Commons while seven parliamentarians remain sanctioned.

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

But Richard Graham, the Tory MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on China – which organised the talk – expressed his “regret” that he would have to postpone the talk.

Hoyle said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

Lord McFall’s spokeswoman confirmed that the speakers of both houses “are in agreement that this particular APPG China meeting should take place elsewhere considering the current sanctions against members”.

Duncan Smith 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”.

Graham had argued it was “very important” for the group to engage with and hear from the new ambassador, who took on the role in June.

After the decision, the Tory MP said: “I regret this long-arranged event has now been postponed because the best way to discuss issues is to engage.”