‘WHAT the government cannot legitimately do is to re-submit to the House the same proposition, or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes,’ the Speaker John Bercow said yesterday in an unprecedented political intervention, ruling out May’s attempts to have a third vote on her Brexit deal.
In a statement to the House of Commons, the Speaker said: ‘It has been strongly rumoured, though I have not received confirmation of this, that a third and possibly even fourth meaningful vote on the government’s motion will be attempted.
‘Hence this statement is designed to signal what would be orderly and what would not.
‘This is my conclusion: if the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition which is neither the same nor substantially the same of that disposed of by the House on March 12, this would be entirely in order.’
Tory chair of the European Scrutiny Committee, William Cash, then made a point of order, he said: ‘Given the fact the government’s motion has been defeated on two separate occasions, unless there is a substantial difference it must follow, that what you have said in a very important statement, makes an enormous amount of sense.
‘I just wondered just one thing with regard to the precedent of 1604, whether there was a connection between that and very shortly after the gunpowder plot.’
Supporting the speaker, Angela Eagle, Labour MP for Wallasey, then intervened with another point of order, she said: ‘The point of this ruling is to stop the bullying of the legislature by the executive and the fact is, that MPs are being either strong-armed, bullied, or bribed.’
Anna Soubry, who split from the Tories to join the Labour splitters in the so-called Independent Group, said: ‘This has to be unprecedented, the crisis which is now upon us, we are due to leave the European Union in just 11 days and there is no plan, there is no certainty.
‘Mr Speaker, what would you now expect the government to do?’
The Speaker replied: ‘I do not think that it is for me to say what the government should do. But, what I would say is that I think it would be helpful to the House to have the earliest indication on how the government wants to proceed.’
Labour MP for Leeds Central, Hilary Benn, intervened: ‘Does your statement suggest in any way, that in order for a third meaningful vote to not fall foul, that it would require further changes to be agreed with the European Union, in order for such a motion to be in order rather than not in order.’
The speaker replied: ‘In all likelihood the answer to his question is yes.’
Dave Wiltshire, secretary of the All Trades Union Alliance commented to News Line: ‘After the Speaker’s ruling, now that he has ruled out that May’s Brexit deal can be voted on a third time, the government must carry out the legislated decision by Parliament to leave the EU on March 29 without a deal.
‘This is what the people want, and this is what the government must deliver.’