The Speaker
Saturday, 18 May 2024 – 10:14

May won’t get meaningful vote on the same deal, says Bercow

The speaker of the House of Commons has ruled out a third meaningful vote on May’s deal unless there are considerable changes.

Ahead of tomorrow’s third meaningful vote, John Bercow sited a 400-year-old parliamentary rule that states the same motion will not be allowed to be voted on more than once in a small amount of time.

It comes after he accused the prime minister of forcing the Commons to “repeatedly pronounce” on the unchanged deal, an obvious shock to May as Downing Street were unable to answer in response to the speaker’s announcement.

The prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “The speaker did not forewarn us of the content of his statement or the fact that he was making one.”

Following the biggest-ever parliamentary defeat on her withdrawal bill in January where she lost by 230 votes, in addition to, losing by 149 votes on Tuesday last week – the speaker may well be giving a few hints as to where her leadership is going.

And as history suggests, May shouldn’t even be prime minister still.

Even Margaret Thatcher famously resigned for failing to win an outright majority in the 1990 conservative party leadership election, a vote which seems of far less importance to the current.

Now, with MPs spreading rumours of a possible general election, May’s fate may be just around the corner.

Mr Bercow said today that MPs from both sides of the debate had asked him to implement a rule from “Eskrine May”, a parliamentary rulebook.

He said: “What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the house the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week. 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 he held in this parliamentary session.”

Due to Brexit, the current parliamentary session has gone on for longer this year but usually runs for about 12 months. In theory, the prime minister could propose a new session so she could present her unchanged deal for the third time to parliament, however, with it being so close to March 29 – it is unlikely she will challenge it. 

However, it is still unclear as to whether a vote will take place tomorrow but for now, May remains clutching at straws.

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