The British government must submit a different proposition to parliament to the one it lost last week if it wants to hold another vote on its Brexit plans, the parliament’s speaker, John Bercow, said on Monday.
Bercow, the ultimate arbiter of whether the government can ask parliament again to pass Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal to leave the European Union, said ministers could not submit the same proposition again.
“This is my conclusion: if the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the house on the 12th of March, this would be entirely in order,” he said.
“What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the House (of Commons) the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes.”
According to precedents stretching back to 1604, parliamentary rules say that substantially similar proposals cannot be presented for a vote more than once during the same session of parliament.
“This ruling should not be regarded as my last word on the subject,” Bercow said.
“It is simply meant to indicate the test which the government must meet, in order for me to rule that a third meaningful vote can legitimately be held in this parliamentary session.”