Speaker deals blow to May’s bid to revive Brexit deal

Updated March 19, 2019

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With less than 2 weeks to go until March 29, British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to twist arms and have another vote on the withdrawal agreement. ─ AFP/File
With less than 2 weeks to go until March 29, British Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to twist arms and have another vote on the withdrawal agreement. ─ AFP/File

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May’s bid to get the EU divorce deal through parliament was hit on Monday with a bombshell announcement by the speaker, ruling MPs could not vote again on the same proposal they had already rejected.

With less than two weeks to go until a potentially chaotic departure on March 29 that could trigger an economic shock, May hoped to twist arms and have another vote on the withdrawal agreement by Wednesday.

The British government was scrambling to convince Brexiteers to give in at long last and support the twice-rejected deal. But the speaker of parliament’s lower House of Commons John Bercow said MPs could not be asked to vote again on the same deal in this session of parliament.

“What the government cannot legitimately do is resubmit to the house the same proposition, or substantially the same proposition,” he said, citing precedent dating back to 1604.

It is the first time in more than a century that the speaker has invoked the rule, meaning the government must find a way of substantially altering the deal before it can be voted on again.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019