UK Speaker Throws Brexit in Further Disarray by Blocking 3rd Vote on EU Deal
Bercow has cited a convention dating back to 1604 as preventing a new vote on a motion that has not been modified substantially within the same parliamentary session.
John Bercow, the Speaker of the British House of Commons, has complicated further the process of Brexit by announcing he would block a third vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal with the EU unless there are “substantial” changes to it.
Bercow’s move comes after last week the British MPs rejected the amended withdrawal deal May had negotiated with the EU by a margin of 149 votes, an improved score compared with the initial record-breaking defeat by 230 votes in January.
After the second Brexit deal rejection, however, the House of Commons of the British Parliament also voted in favor of ruling out a no-deal Brexit, and in favor of extending the withdrawal process and thus delaying Brexit.
With the originally set Brexit date of March 29, 2019, rapidly approaching, British Prime Minister Theresa May had been hoping to get a third parliamentary vote on her deal with the EU, possibly to see it passed before the EU Council summit on Thursday and Friday.
In a surprise ruling on Monday, however, House of Commons Speaker Bercow said he would not allow a third “meaningful vote” in the coming days on “substantially the same” motion as the one the MPs already voted down last week, as cited by BBC News.
The responsibilities of the Speaker of the British House of Commons include controlling debates and choosing which amendments can be debated.
Bercow justified his decision with a convention dating back to 1604 stipulating that a defeated motion could not be subjected to a new vote in the same form during the course a parliamentary sessions.
He also noted that the restriction was not applicable to the second vote on May’s Brexit deal with the EU since the motion had been substantially modified.
Bercow’s move is interpreted as increasing the likelihood of May asking the EU for a longer extension on Brexit after the May 29 date.
The House of Commons Speaker appeared to be taking the Prime Minister’s Office by surprise, with May’s spokesman saying Downing Street 10 had not been warned about the contents of his statement “or indeed the fact that he was making one”.
More than four hours after Bercow’s ruling, the only major reaction from May’s office was that his statement had been noted, and necessitated “proper consideration”.
(Banner image: TV grab from the BBC)