Tuesday 23 April 2019

Theresa May's third 'meaningful vote' on Brexit blocked

Speaker John Bercow says Prime Minister can't bring deal to parliament without substantial changes

UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS
UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS
Theresa May blocked

The British government must submit a different proposition to parliament to the one it lost last week if it wants to hold another vote on its Brexit plans, the parliament's speaker, John Bercow, said this afternoon.

Bercow, the ultimate arbiter of whether the government can ask parliament again to pass Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to leave the European Union, said ministers could not submit the same proposition again.

In a shock move that is being seen as a blow to Theresa May, the Speaker said the House of Commons was “being repeatedly asked to pronounce” on the same question.

"This is my conclusion: if the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the house on the 12th of March, this would be entirely in order," he said.

Speaker of the House John Bercow speaks in Parliament, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019
Speaker of the House John Bercow speaks in Parliament, in London, Britain, March 18, 2019

"What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the House (of Commons) the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes."

According to precedents stretching back to 1604, parliamentary rules say that substantially similar proposals cannot be presented for a vote more than once during the same session of parliament.

"This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject," Bercow said.

"It is simply meant to indicate the test which the government must meet, in order for me to rule that a third meaningful vote can legitimately be held in this parliamentary session."

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said on Monday that Bercow did not forewarn the government about his statement/

May's spokesman told reporters he was not yet in a position to comment on the statement, when John Bercow said the government would have to bring a different proposition to parliament if it wanted to stage another Brexit vote.

More to follow.

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