UK MPs' vote on Brexit deal ruled out by Speaker John Bercow

UK MPs' vote on Brexit deal ruled out by Speaker John Bercow
Source: BBC
Date: 22-10-2019 Time: 01:10:29:am

The Commons Speaker has refused a government request to hold a "yes" or "no" vote on its Brexit deal.

John Bercow said a motion on the deal had been brought before MPs on Saturday, and it would be "repetitive and disorderly" to debate it again.

Bercow: The motion will not be debated today

Saturday's sitting saw MPs vote to withhold approval of Boris Johnson's deal until it has been passed into law.

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."

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 has presented the law which would implement the Brexit deal to the Commons, and it will begin its parliamentary journey on Tuesday.

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), has been introduced and will then have to go through full parliamentary scrutiny in both the Commons and the Lords - something which usually takes weeks rather than days.

But Leader of the Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg announced plans to complete the Commons stages by the end of Thursday. He said the House would not sit on Friday.

The BBC's political editor said the government hoped to push the WAB through by getting MPs to sit until midnight on Tuesday and Wednesday - an aggressive timetable they may well reject.

MPs will vote on a so-called programme motion - which effectively approves or rejects that timetable - on Tuesday.

Labour's shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz told MPs: "At every stage the government has been running scared of this House and democracy, and it's now attempting to force through a flawed Brexit deal which sells out people's jobs, rights and our communities."

The SNP's Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, called on the government "not to bulldoze" the bill through Parliament and give time for "full scrutiny".

BBC Brussels correspondent Adam Fleming said the European Parliament would only vote on the Brexit deal when it had reached a stage where it could not be modified any further at Westminster.

Officials believe that means it is virtually impossible for MEPs to approve it this week, but they are open to an extraordinary session of parliament next week, he added.