Bercow blocks Boris’ Brexit vote

Another blow for prime minister Boris Johnson as Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow denies a vote on the government’s Brexit deal

In a move that has proved controversial with Conservative MPs, Mr Bercow has denied the government to hold a “meaningful vote” on the withdrawal agreement with the European Union this afternoon in the House of Commons.

Mr Bercow said that it was, in effect, “the same in substance” as the one considered in the “Super Saturday” sitting on October 19.

The prime minister had planned to hold a vote on his government’s Brexit deal today after he was forced from doing so during Saturday’s emergency debate when a majority of MPs decided to back the “Letwin amendment”.

This delayed approval of the deal until the necessary legislation has been passed making it law.

And Mr Bercow ruled that:

“Today’s motion is in substance the same as Saturday’s motion – and the House has decided the matter.”

He also said that holding a meaningful vote today would be both “repetitive” and “disorderly”.

Infographic by Scott Mathew

A pro-Brexit Conservative backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin MP said:

“I note the dilemmas you face mean that on occassion you will sometimes have to please some and not others, but it is becoming remarkable how often you please one lot and not the other lot.”

Meanwhile the People’s Vote campaign, who led a “Final Say” rally on Saturday through central London, welcomed the delay.

They tweeted via Politics Home that the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had “admitted” that Northern Irish businesses will have to “fill out export forms” in order to do trade with the United Kingdom mainland.

The idea that the Brexit deal would mean a border “down the Irish Sea” had been enough to convince the Democratic Unionist Party in Parliament to vote in favour of the Letwin amendment on Saturday.

During the debate the DUP’s Sammy Wilson said that the deal “cuts off” Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

In Westminster the DUP effectively “prop-up” the minority Conservative government as part of a “confidence and supply” arrangement.

This was agreed with the then prime minister Theresa May back in 2017 when she failed to win a majority in that year’s general election.

Sir Keir Starmer – the shadow Brexit secretary – said that it was only right that Mr Bercow’s decision is respected.

And he also indicated that the Labour party will be tabling amendments for a second referendum when the vote on the deal does come.

Given that the Letwin amendment had delayed Boris Johnson being able to bring his Brexit bill before the Commons and forced him to request an extension of the deadline for Brexit, Mr Bercow’s ruling today has been a massive blow for the government.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg insists that it is the government’s focus and full intent to have the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through the Commons and into the House of Lords “by Friday”.

Words: Scott Mathew | Subbing: Michelle Del Rey | Featured image credit: Parliament.uk

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