MPs’ vote on Brexit deal ruled out by Speaker

The Commons Speaker has refused a government request to hold a “yes” or “no” vote on its Brexit deal.

John Bercow said a motion on the deal had been brought before Members of Parliament (MPs) on Saturday, and it would be “repetitive and disorderly” to debate it again.

Saturday’s sitting saw MPs vote to withhold approval of Boris Johnson’s deal until it has been passed into law.

The government said it was disappointed, but would go ahead with introducing the necessary legislation.

The prime minister’s official spokesman added: “The Speaker has yet again denied us a chance to deliver on the will of British people.”

The UK is due to leave the EU in 10 days, and while Mr Johnson and fellow EU leaders have agreed a new deal to allow that to happen, it cannot come into force until it is approved by both the UK and European parliaments.

The government wanted to hold a “yes” or “no” vote – a so-called “meaningful vote” – on its deal on Saturday, but MPs instead chose to back an amendment tabled by former Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, which said that could not happen until all necessary Brexit legislation was passed.

That legislation – called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – will be introduced later, but will then have to go through full parliamentary scrutiny in both the Commons and the Lords, something which usually takes weeks rather than days.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, called on the government “not to bulldoze” it through Parliament and give time for “full scrutiny”.

But Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg announced plans to complete the Commons stages by the end of Thursday.

He said the House would not sit on Friday.

MPs will vote on a so-called programme motion – which effectively approves or rejects that timetable – on Tuesday, and many are likely to insist on a longer period of scrutiny.

No 10 was pushing for a second shot at a meaningful vote on Monday, but Mr Bercow told the Commons he would not allow it, and had come to that decision on the basis of a parliamentary convention dating back to 1604.

He cited Parliament’s rulebook, Erskine May, which says a motion that is the same “in substance” as a previous one cannot be brought back during the course of a single parliamentary session. -BBC

Show More
Back to top button