LONDON – The speaker of the United Kingdom’s House of Commons, John Bercow, blocked on Monday a third vote on the same Brexit deal.
Last week, the lower House of Parliament rejected for a second time the draft Withdrawal Agreement that Prime Minister Theresa May had negotiated with the European Union.
Bercow said lawmakers cannot legitimately vote on the deal again unless the Government makes “substantial” changes.
“Decisions of the House matter, they have weight,” the speaker said. “In many cases, they have direct effects not only here but on the lives of our constituents.”
He cited parliamentary regulations dating back to 1604 in his statement.
“If the Government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the House on March 12, this would be entirely in order,” Bercow said.
“What the Government cannot legitimately do is re-submit to the House the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected,” he added.
He continued: “This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject, it is simply aimed to indicate the test which the Government must reach for a third legitimate vote to be held.”
Parliament voted 413-202 last week to instruct May to ask the EU for a delay to the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union beyond March 29.
All 27 other EU member states would need to approve an extension of the UK’s withdrawal under Article 50.
May previously said that Parliament would have one more opportunity to vote on the draft Withdrawal Agreement before the March 21-22 EU summit.
Before approving the motion to ask the EU for more time, the House of Commons voted down an amendment to seek a much longer extension for the purpose of holding a second referendum on Brexit.
The amendment failed 334-85, as members of the main opposition Labour Party withheld support on the instructions of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said that while he supports giving voters another chance to express an opinion on Brexit, now was not the appropriate time to decide the matter.