The speaker of the British parliament has announced in a shocking statement that the government would be barred from returning to the chamber for a third vote on its controversial European Union withdrawal agreement if the deal on offer is the same as the one defeated two times this year.
John Bercow said on Monday that it would be against precedents of the House of Commons that the government would seek to gain the approval of the lawmakers for the same exact deal that was rejected last week.
“This is my conclusion: 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 the 12th of March, this would be entirely in order,” Bercow said, adding, however, that “the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week” would not be allowed for another vote.
The announcement came as a shock for Prime Minister Theresa May who was reportedly trying to hold a third vote on her Brexit deal on Wednesday, just more than a week before Britain is officially expected to leave the EU.
May’s deal had been defeated by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on January 15. She has desperately been seeking to go through the Commons with the deal she finalized with the EU in November and bring Britain out of the EU, as demanded by more than 17 million voters, on March 29.
May’s office said the announcement had not been expected and the government was disappointed that it could not continue with its efforts to secure the deal in the parliament.
Bercow said, however, that his announcement was not his last word and the government, which dominates the parliament and sets its agenda, can come up with new propositions.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers in the Commons welcomed Bercow’s decision to bar another vote on government Brexit deal, saying it would prepare the ground for a clean break from the EU at the end of March. Opponents said the move would definitively cause May to seek an extension to EU-UK negotiation period, as allowed by the Commons last week.