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Speaker John Bercow Says PM CAN’T Ask MPs To Vote On Same Brexit Deal Again
18 March 2019, 15:55 | Updated: 18 March 2019, 16:23
The Speaker of the House of Commons has said Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal can’t be voted on again as it is.
John Bercow said if the Prime Minister's Brexit deal comes back without substantial change, it would breach parliamentary rules.
There had been rumours that Parliament would be asked to vote on the deal for a third time this week, if it could get enough support.
"What the Government cannot legitimately do is resubmit to the House the same proposition - or substantially the same proposition - as that of last week, which was rejected by 149 votes," he said in a statement to the Commons on Monday afternoon.
"This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject. 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."
Mr Bercow said his actions were sparked following a question asked by Labour MP Angela Eagle last week.
She wanted to know if the Government could keep bringing back the same motion time and time again.
He said he had consulted the Parliamentary procedural handbook Erskine May and found that a motion "which is the same in substance" may not be brought forward again "during that same session".
The Speaker said the convention dated back to April 2, 1604, and said it had been confirmed again many times, including 1864, 1870, 1882, 1891 and 1912.
Immediate options open to PM:— Theo Usherwood (@theousherwood) March 18, 2019
1). Change legal advice and convince Speaker changes substance of motion.
2). Press reset - bring forward MV3 at start of a new parliamentary session.
3). Don’t bother. Extend A50 for two years on Thursday and go walking in Swiss Alps.
Giving his reaction, LBC’s political editor Theo Usherwood said: “Unless the Government is willing to go back to Brussels and get something different, it’s very difficult to see how they can bring back the same motion.
“The only thing I could immediately think of would be Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General’s legal advice is going to be different and whether that would be enough to convince John Bercow the difference is significant enough to be a new motion.”
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Speaker did not warn us of the contents of the statement or indeed the fact that he was making one."