Archive for the ‘Foreign policy’ Category

Constitutional chaos after third vote on Brexit deal blocked

Prime minister likely to have to request long article 50 extension after Bercow intervenes

Theresa May’s government has been plunged into constitutional chaos after the Speaker blocked the prime minister from asking MPs to vote on her Brexit deal for a third time unless it had fundamentally changed.

With 11 days to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, May was forced to pull her plans for another meaningful vote because John Bercow said she could not ask MPs to pass the same deal, after they rejected it twice by huge margins. EU officials, meanwhile, were considering offering her a new date for a delayed Brexit to resolve the crisis.

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DUP unlikely to back May’s Brexit deal before EU meeting

PM had hoped to win unionist party’s support before Thursday

The Democratic Unionist party is unlikely to strike an agreement with Theresa May’s government to support the current withdrawal deal before Thursday’s crunch meeting with EU leaders, sources said on Monday.

With 11 days before the UK is due to leave the EU, the prime minister has been trying to convince the pro-Brexit party’s 10 MPs, who prop up her minority government, to back the Brexit deal she has agreed with the European Union.

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Ziggy Bercow and the MPs from Mars rock old hit Erskine May | John Crace

The Speaker gets turned up to 11 for a Brexit deep cut from the Commons’ back catalogue

Days like these, Theresa May must wonder why she bothers. A question many of us have been asking for a couple of years. If she wasn’t in enough trouble with the hardliners of the European Research Group, Conservative remainers and a Democratic Unionist party hot on the scent of more cash, she now had her namesake on her back: Erskine May. Or at least the Speaker’s interpretation of the parliamentary rulebook.

Shortly after 3.30pm on what had hitherto promised to be a quiet afternoon in the Commons, John Bercow decided to give the government his own kicking. Like most things the Speaker does, it was delivered with much theatricality and self-importance but was none the less deadly for it. Having previously ruled that some precedents were made to be broken, he had concluded that the precedent of not allowing a government to put the same – or substantially the same – motion to the house as one that had previously been rejected should be upheld. So if the prime minister wanted to put her Brexit deal to a third meaningful vote, she was going to have to come up with something radically different.

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Hundreds of Scottish police on standby for Brexit fallout

Plans include 360 extra officers ready to step in if civil unrest or logistical issues arise

Police in Scotland will be ready to respond to any emergencies during an “unprecedented set of circumstances” after Brexit, a senior officer has said, with hundreds of officers ready to step in should protests or logistical issues arise.

Assistant chief constable Steve Johnson, Police Scotland’s EU exit tactical commander, said the force would be prepared to handle a range of potential challenges presented within the coming months.

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The Guardian view on Speaker Bercow: on parliament’s side | Editorial

The Commons equivalent of the double jeopardy rule is rightly invoked to impose sense on a government elevating a plebiscitary politics over a parliamentary one

This country has been in a political and constitutional quandary since the results of the Brexit referendum in June 2016. Today the crisis deepened in a dramatic and decisive way. The Commons Speaker John Bercow said he was minded not to allow the government to bring back its Brexit deal for a third meaningful vote because it breaks parliamentary convention. Mr Bercow has history – going back all the way to 1604 – on his side. Under the “same question, same session” rule MPs cannot be asked to decide a question they have already decided in the same session. It’s the parliamentary equivalent of the double jeopardy rule. “Decisions of the house matter. They have weight,” he said.

Theresa May has tried to use votes in parliament to grind her opponents down until they accepted the only Brexit that would work was hers. This strategy involved ignoring decisions of parliament. MPs voted to take the date of the UK leaving the European Union of 29 March 2019 out of law – but ministers did nothing. Parliament voted against a no-deal Brexit – but it remained as the default option in statute. It is time to stop the prime minister playing a game of chicken with the future of the country. The speaker, representing the collective voice of parliament, has a duty to uphold the legislature’s supremacy over the government and the judiciary. Mr Bercow is right to remind the government that it cannot go on ignoring the will of the House.

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EU could hand May lifeline with formal offer of new Brexit date

Move might convince Commons Speaker John Bercow that deal before MPs has changed

The EU is set to offer Theresa May a helping hand after her plan for a new meaningful vote was derailed, by formally agreeing on a new delayed Brexit date at this week’s summit and keeping it on offer until shortly before midnight on 29 March.

A change of the UK’s departure date in the draft withdrawal agreement – potentially from 29 March until three months later on 1 July – might convince the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, that the deal before parliament has changed, sources in Brussels suggested.

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Brexit: John Bercow rules out third meaningful vote on same deal

Speaker says PM cannot bring back deal to parliament without substantial changes

The House of Commons Speaker has thwarted any attempt by Theresa May to bring back a third meaningful vote to parliament, unless there has been substantial change to the Brexit deal.

In a shock move likely to infuriate the prime minister, John Bercow suggested he believed such a fundamental change would involve a renegotiation at EU level, rather than clarification of the legal advice written by the attorney general, something that had been suggested this week.

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