John Bercow has blocked Conservative demands to allow MPs to have a “meaningful vote” on Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal today.
The speaker ruled that “today’s circumstances are the same in substance as Saturday’s” which resulted in another defeat for the PM.
MPs had been summoned back to Westminster on Saturday for the first time since 1982 by Mr Johnson to have a so-called “meaningful vote” on his Brexit deal.
But a majority of them backed an amendment withholding support for the deal until all necessary legislation has been passed into law to avoid a last-minute no-deal.
BREAKING: Commons Speaker John Bercow blocks a bid for a ‘meaningful vote’ on @BorisJohnson‘s #Brexit deal today.— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 21, 2019
“Today’s circumstances are the same in substance as Saturday’s,” he says.
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Substance and circumstance
Bercow said there were two issues to consider in the ruling and these are of “substance” and “circumstance”.
He said it is “clear” the two motions are in substance the same, and added that while the government might argue there is a change of circumstance – because the PM has now requested a Brexit delay – that is “not persuasive” as the application is part of a process.
Therefore, the motion is “in substance” the same as Saturday’s and the circumstances are “in substance” the same as well.
Mr Johnson abandoned plans for a meaningful vote on Saturday when MPs backed a move forcing him to ask Brussels for a further delay.
Downing Street also said it would pull Monday’s vote if any amendments are selected which would “render the vote pointless”.
“There is no point having a meaningless vote – the Government would pull the motion. We will go ahead with the introduction of the WAB with second reading tomorrow,” the PM’s official spokesman said.”
It came after Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak denied that trying to bring the deal back for a vote was a bid to portray Parliament as being obstructive.
“It was an observation on the deal happening and I think what people need is a substantive vote,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I think people are crying out to see that and they would find it odd if, because of some technical procedural device, we weren’t able to have that vote.”