JUST IN: Commons speaker Bercow rejects vote on Johnson's Brexit deal

Speaker John Bercow: announces plans to step aside

Commons Speaker John Bercow: No to Boris Johnson's government on Brexit deal

Commons Speaker John Bercow: No to Boris Johnson’s government on Brexit deal

Britain’s parliamentary speaker John Bercow told the Boris Johnson government on Monday it could not again try to get a vote on the new Brexit deal because it was posing the same question to parliament twice.

Instead, Bercow said, it could pursue the route of getting the legislation required for Britain’s departure from the European Union through parliament first rather than having a straight ‘yes or no’ vote on the agreement.

“In summary, today’s motion is in substance the same as Saturday’s motion and the House (of Commons) has decided the matter. Today’s circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday’s circumstances,” Bercow told parliament.

“My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so.”

The government said it was disappointed, but would go ahead with introducing the necessary legislation.

The prime minister’s official spokesman added: “The Speaker has yet again denied us a chance to deliver on the will of British people.”

No 10 also accused Bercow of relying on a parliamentary convention dating back to 1604.

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Bercow cited Parliament’s rulebook, Erskine May, which says a motion that is the same “in substance” as a previous one cannot be brought back during the course of a single parliamentary session.

The Speaker also said the circumstances around the motion had not changed, so his ruling was “necessary… to ensure the sensible use of the House’s time and proper respect for the decisions that it takes”.

The BBC reports that the UK is due to leave the EU in 10 days, and while Mr Johnson and fellow EU leaders have agreed a new deal to allow that to happen, it cannot come into force until it is approved by both the UK and European parliaments.

The government wanted to hold a “yes” or “no” vote – a so-called “meaningful vote” – on its deal on Saturday, but MPs instead chose to back an amendment tabled by former Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, which said that could not happen until all necessary Brexit legislation was passed.

That legislation – called the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) – will be introduced later, but will then have to go through full parliamentary scrutiny in both the Commons and the Lords.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, called on the government “not to bulldoze” it through Parliament and give time for “full scrutiny”.