Speaker wrecks May's Brexit plan by banning another vote on deal

April FrancisMar 20, 2019

Theresa May can not bring her Brexit deal back for a third "meaningful vote", the House of Commons speaker ruled on Monday, sending the pound plummeting again.

The Commons Speaker scuppered the chance of another Commons vote on the Prime Minister's deal before Thursday's EU summit, ruling that she could not bring her EU Withdrawal Agreement back before MPs unless it was substantially different from the package that was defeated last week.

Bercow cited a parliamentary rule dating back to 1604 that says that substantially similar proposals can not be voted on in the House of Commons a few times during the same session of parliament - to preserve the credibility of the House.

Using a centuries-old Parliamentary rule, Mr Bercow said the house could not be asked to vote on the agreement again without "substantial" changes to what was on offer.

The British government was not forewarned of Mr Bercow's statement, Mrs May's spokesman said after it was announced that the same Brexit deal could not be tabled for another vote. "They have to come with an initiative, a clear one, a objective credible and supported by a majority", Loiseau told reporters.

Can a no deal Brexit still happen on March 29?

At home, a new vote on UK Brexit deal has been blocked by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

But Roth also echoed comments in Berlin by Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU's pre-eminent leader, who said she would "fight to the last minute" until midnight (2300 GMT) on March 29 to ensure an orderly exit for the EU's second-ranked economy.

A government source told AFP the speaker's move suggested "what he really wants is a longer extension, where parliament will take over the process and force a softer form of Brexit".

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"However, it is worth noting that the government has already rowed back expectations for a third vote, with government ministers saying over the last day or so that they would only bring a vote if they thought they would win it", he said. But British Prime Minister Theresa May might reject the deal, made by the House of Commons, for the third time.

The EU on Tuesday finalised legislation to lean on in case of the most-damaging no-deal Brexit and mitigate the worst disruptions in fisheries and transport between the bloc and the United Kingdom, as well as prolong student exchange programmes. Brexit supporters in Britain fear the backstop could be used to bind the country to European Union regulations indefinitely, and the DUP fears it could lead to a weakening of the bonds between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. The DUP's 10 lawmakers prop up May's Conservative government, and their support could influence pro-Brexit Conservatives to drop their opposition to the deal.

"Although Bercow's ambush will please certain No Deal advocates and other enemies of Theresa May, it has rightfully caused anger in Westminster and across the country, frustrating a plan that was starting to hold", it says.

"Everything has been done to avoid a no-deal and a disorderly British exit", the French presidency official said.

He said he would not allow a third "meaningful vote" in the coming days on "substantially the same" motion as MPs rejected last week.

If a deal is approved, she says she will ask the European Union to extend the deadline until June 30 so that Parliament has time to approve the necessary legislation.

"Extending the uncertainty without a clear plan would add to the economic cost for our businesses, but could also incur a political cost for the EU".

"The prime minister will be writing to Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, before the European council begins, in relation to an extension", the spokesman said.

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