UK Speaker John Bercow blocks more votes on unchanged Brexit deal
01:12, Mar 20, 2019
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The British government was preparing Tuesday to ask the European Union for a delay of at least several months to Brexit after the speaker of the House of Commons ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May can not keep asking lawmakers to vote on the same divorce deal that they have already rejected twice.
Speaker John Bercow blindsided May's office on Monday by ruling the government could not put the same Brexit deal to another vote in parliament unless it was substantially different to the ones defeated on January 15 and March 12.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "What you can see from the Prime Minister and her colleagues is an absolute determination to find a way in which Parliament could vote for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union with a deal".
Pouring cold water on the government's possibly further meaningful votes on the deal was a big blow for the government, said Neil Wilson at Markets.com, as it seemed "rather unlikely" that the proposition would be able to change significantly.
Mrs May's own Brexit deal envisages an 18-month transition period starting on March 29, during which a comprehensive future partnership would be negotiated.
Speaker John Bercow threw a huge new spanner into Theresa May's hopes of passing her deal today by ruling she can not hold a third vote on her deal.
The spokesman added: "She has said in the House of Commons that she does not want there to be a long delay and that she believes asking the British public to take part in European elections three years after they voted to leave the EU would represent a failure by politicians".
But for a longer delay "there needs to be a new event" or a "new political process" - so that "we are not back in the same situation as today".
The big question now is whether the EU27 leaders will grant an extension when they meet on Thursday (the decision has to be unanimous but the European Union council tends to work by consensus).
Hardcore Brexiteers welcomed the Speaker's move as it appeared to increase the likelihood of Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, which they think ties Britain too closely to the EU.
"[The UK] have said "no" to a no deal and they have said "no" to a realistic deal".
Diplomats and officials in the bloc said, depending on what exactly May asks for, European Union leaders could hold off on making a final call this week, helping May put pressure on her MPs to back her divorce deal at the third attempt before March 29.
Analysts said the speaker's statement would likely impede and prolong Mrs May's Brexit negotiations.
One cabinet source said, "the current position is untenable - if they just accept a long extension the party will split".
If in those circumstances May's deal was finally ratified, this would be pork barrel politics of epic proportions, the government's DUP tail wagging an entire nation into a Brexit destiny that even its little troop has always held in contempt.
Solicitor General Robert Buckland said Britain was facing a "major constitutional crisis", with not much time to solve it. As Mrs May herself has constantly said, until recently, "no deal is better than a bad deal".
In an astonishing display of the division at the heart of the British government, last week, Mr. Barclay voted against the government motion extending the Brexit deadline.
"If it is thwarted now, no-one is ever going to allow us another chance to have a vote", Mr Rees-Mogg told LBC radio. The EU is clear it is the only deal on the table.
"The prime minister will be writing to Donald Tusk, the president of the European council, before the European council begins, in relation to an extension", the spokesman said.
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