UK parliament's vote on Brexit deal blocked by Speaker
Updated 02:05, 22-Oct-2019
Bercow is due to step down from his job after ten years (Credit: Reuters)

Bercow is due to step down from his job after ten years (Credit: Reuters)

The Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow has rejected a plan to put the Brexit deal to a Yes/No vote of members of parliament on Monday.

He ruled that the proposed motion was too similar to one put to MPs on Saturday. That one was amended - against the government's wishes - to delay any vote until legislation bringing the Brexit deal into UK law had been passed.

The amendment was designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit on 31 October if there was a delay in putting the deal into British law.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson had made clear he wanted to try again to put the Brexit deal to a straight vote on MPs on Monday before moving on to trying to get the legislation into law.


Bercow said that there was a longstanding understanding that the same motion could not be put to MPs unless circumstances had changed.

"In summary, today's motion is in substance the same as Saturday's motion and the House [of Commons] has decided the matter. Today's circumstances are in substance the same as Saturday's circumstances," Bercow told MPs.

"My ruling is therefore that the motion will not be debated today as it would be repetitive and disorderly to do so."

However he said that the government could bring forward the legislation designed to put the withdrawal agreement into British law - the bill is to be introduced in Parliament later on Monday, with the first debate and vote on it likely to happen on Tuesday.

Johnson had wanted a clean vote on the principle of the Brexit deal first as it could help fend off opponents trying to alter the deal agreed between the UK and EU by amending the legislation as it passes through parliament.

The UK is due to leave the European Union after 46 years of membership, on 31 October.

Previous prime minister Theresa May negotiated a deal with the EU which was rejected by British MPs three times earlier this year.

Whatever deal the UK and the EU negotiate has to be approved by British MPs and the European Parliament before it can come into force.

As things stand, the UK is due to leave on 31 October with or without a deal. But Johnson was forced by MPs to send a letter to the EU asking for an extension to 31 January.

On Monday evening the UK government announced it was intensifying preparations for a no-deal Brexit. 

Michael Gove, the Minister in charge of planning for the UK to leave the EU said that because of the 'renewed urgency'  hundreds of civil servants would be redeployed and the government committee in charge of the preparations would meet seven days a week.

Opposition MPs accuse the government of being unnecessarily fixated on the date of 31 October, and point out that Prime Minister Johnson has now reluctantly requested the extension.

But Mr Gove repeated the government mantra that lawmakers just need to "get Brexit done."

If the Brexit deal is not passed by 31 October it is expected that the three month Brexit delay will take place, with a general election likely to be held.