Will John Bercow sabotage Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans?

Will John Bercow sabotage Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans AGAIN? Commons Speaker could block a vote on his deal TOMORROW

  • Boris Johnson expected to try to hold ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit deal tomorrow
  • But Commons Speaker John Bercow could move to block that vote taking place
  • PM tried to hold ‘meaningful vote’ yesterday but it was hijacked by rebel MPs
  • Mr Bercow could argue that the Prime Minister has had his chance and he blew it

By Jack Maidment, Deputy Political Editor For Mailonline

Published: 16:09 BST, 20 October 2019 | Updated: 18:40 BST, 20 October 2019

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John Bercow and Boris Johnson are on a collision course this evening ahead of a crunch showdown in the House of Commons tomorrow. 

Mr Johnson wants to try to force another ‘meaningful vote’ on his Brexit deal after his first attempt was scuppered yesterday. 

But the Commons Speaker is considering whether the vote should be allowed to go ahead amid growing speculation he will block the Prime Minister. 

Parliamentary rules dictate that MPs are not supposed to vote on the same motion more than once. 

Mr Bercow could argue that Mr Johnson blew his chance to vote on his Brexit deal after he failed to secure the support of MPs yesterday on ‘Super Saturday’. 

The government is likely to argue that because MPs hijacked the motion and amended it to force the PM to ask the EU for a Brexit delay they never actually voted on Mr Johnson’s original proposals. 

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, signalled the government’s intention to bring forward another ‘meaningful vote’ tomorrow when he addressed MPs at the close of proceedings yesterday. 

But Mr Bercow said he would have to rule on whether the vote could go ahead.

John Bercow, the Commons Speaker, is on a collision course with Boris Johnson over whether MPs should be allowed to vote on the PM’s Brexit deal tomorrow

Mr Johnson is expected to try to hold another vote on his deal after rebel MPs hijacked his first attempt yesterday

Ministers will be nervous because Mr Bercow has previously ruled that MPs cannot hold repeated votes on the same question. 

Citing a precedent dating back to 1604, he ruled in March this year that then-PM Theresa May could not bring the same Brexit divorce deal back to Parliament for another vote unless she made changes to it.   

The ruling enraged Conservative MPs who accused him of sparking a ‘constitutional crisis’ and of deliberately obstructing Brexit progress. 

Those accusations are likely to be made against the Commons Speaker again should he prevent a ‘meaningful vote’ from taking place tomorrow.

Numerous MPs raised concerns yesterday about the prospect of the government trying to hold another vote on the same motion. 

Labour MP Mary Creagh asked Mr Bercow: ‘Is it in order for the government to put a motion before the House that is effectively defeated and then to re-table the exact same motion hoping for a different result, perhaps in anticipation of certain conversations happening over the weekend between the Prime Minister and people who voted one way, and perhaps on the basis of what appears in the Sunday papers? 

‘Is it in order to bring the same motion twice on consecutive days? Do we not have a duty to our constituents and to the country to let this matter rest?’ 

Mr Bercow hinted he could block another vote being held as he replied: ‘I am alert to the argument you have made. 

Mr Bercow, pictured in the House of Commons yesterday, told MPs he would ‘make a ruling on Monday’ on whether the vote could proceed 

‘I think the fairest thing to say is that, as I have been advised by the Clerk, a ruling on Monday on this matter would be sensible.’

If the ‘meaningful vote’ is allowed to go ahead tomorrow then rebel MPs are likely to try to table a similar amendment to the one which was agreed yesterday. 

That amendment, brought forward by former Tory Sir Oliver Letwin, withheld support for the PM’s deal until such a point as the government has passed all of the legislation needed to deliver an orderly Brexit. 

The government is expected to table the Withdrawal Agreement Bill – the draft law that will do exactly that – tomorrow with the first of a series of votes likely to be held on Tuesday.


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