UK speaker blocks third vote on Brexit deal | News | DW | 18.03.2019

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UK speaker blocks third vote on Brexit deal

Theresa May's plans for a third vote on her Brexit deal may have been scuttled. House of Commons speaker John Bercow has warned he may invoke a rule dating back to the 1600s to stop her.

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Bercow: 'No third Brexit vote without changes'

A third vote by the UK parliament on the Brexit deal may be in jeopardy after the Speaker of the House in the UK parliament warned on Monday he could block the vote.

John Bercow cited a rule from 1604 that disallows parliament from voting on the same matter more than once in the same sitting.

Bercow said a third vote on the matter, if it was not substantially different, would fall afoul of this rule, last invoked in 1920, and he would therefore block it.

"What the government cannot legitimately do is resubmit to the House the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes," Bercow told MPs.

Read more: EU leaders seek clarity from UK before possible Brexit delay

Prime Minister Theresa May is looking to bring a vote on the twice-rejected Brexit deal for the third time, with a number of MPs suggesting they could endorse it this time. Her spokesperson was quoted by British media as noting the speaker's position and saying: "This is something that requires proper consideration."

One of the key groups May needs to woo for a successful third vote is the Northern Irish DUP party, which has thus far voted against her deal. Several lawmakers from May's Conservative party, who voted against the deal, have reportedly told May that if she can bring the DUP on board they will vote with her.

Opposition to the deal has focused on the so-called back-stop, which aims to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

European Union members are meeting later this month and May had hoped to pass the deal before that summit. Bercow said he allowed a second vote on the deal because legal guarantees offered by the EU substantially changed the matter being voted upon.

Unless the UK secures an extension from the EU or accepts its deal, it will crash out of the bloc on March 29 without a deal, likely wreaking substantial economic damage. The EU has ruled out renegotiating the deal, saying it has already offered significant compromises.

Solicitor General Robert Buckland said: "We're in a major constitutional crisis here, a political crisis that we want to try and solve for the country."

"Frankly we could have done without this, but it's something we're going to have to negotiate with and deal with."

Prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said: "May I say how delighted I am that you have decided to follow precedent which is something I am greatly in favor of."

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