Brexit debacle – House of Commons rules out another “same in substance” vote

Theresa May and her Government have had another setback in trying to make progress on Brexit, with another vote in Parliament ruled out unless there is “demonstrable change”.

May should know that repeating the same mistake is not a good idea, but House of Commons Speaker John Bercow says she can’t even do that.

Politico: Parliament speaker rules out third vote on ‘same’ Brexit deal

Theresa May’s government cannot hold a third vote on its Brexit deal without securing a “demonstrable change” agreed with the EU, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow ruled, throwing the government’s plans into further chaos.

In a surprise announcement that took both ministers and MPs by surprise, Bercow said that according to parliamentary conventions dating as far back as 1604, the government could not hold repeated votes in the House of Commons on a motion that was the “same in substance.”

fter her deal was heavily voted down in both January and then again last week, May had kept the option open of bringing it back the House of Commons for a third time before this week’s European Council summit where, in the absence of a ratified deal, she will request a potentially lengthy extension to the Article 50 negotiating period, delaying Brexit and forcing the U.K. to participate in upcoming European elections.

Ministers had said that a third vote would only be attempted this week if the government was confident it could win.

After previous heavy defeats it’s hard to see how they could be confident of anything.

Bercow’s ruling appears to have buried any prospect of a vote this week altogether.

As speaker, Bercow’s interpretations of House of Commons conventions are essentially binding unless and until the Commons votes as a majority to break with an established convention.

It is also possible that the government could in theory bring back largely the same deal, but with additional side agreements with the EU, or potentially changes to the non-binding political declaration on the future relationship. Bercow said he would “have to look at the particulars” of any such changes to rule whether they were “in order.”

“I do think a demonstrable change to the proposition would be required,” he said, when asked by Labour MP Hilary Benn whether a new vote would require changes agreed with the EU. “For example, simply a change in an opinion about something wouldn’t itself constitute a change in the offer. So I would have to look the particulars.”

May and her Government seem to have no idea how to proceed with Brexit.

4 Comments

  1. David

     /  March 19, 2019

    Bercow is correct for once and May will be left with doing what she promised to do dozens and dozens of times and which her government should now be prepared for and leave with no deal.
    Of course she is a lying duplicitous woman so she will ask and get an extension from the EU and with the same people in charge of negotiating on both sides try again with inevitably the same results.
    The elitists are playing for time and grinding down the Brexiters, its a similar playbook to when Ireland and Denmark both had referendums which ultimately rejected what the EU recommended and had to start over again to get the “right” result.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  March 19, 2019

      Unfortunately parliament voted against the no-deal exit as well.
      So they have so far voted against leaving with the negotiated deal, leaving without a deal, extending the exit timeline or staying in the union.
      Be interesting where it goes from here.

      • MaureenW

         /  March 19, 2019

        I think it’s clear where it’s going – you are witnessing a Monty python sketch as to how it moves to another referendum.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  March 19, 2019

          Who will be left pining for the fjords come election time though?