Desperate May’s 3 unlikely options to bypass/overcome Bercow’s block may lead to all-out assault on Speaker

May’s desperation might push her into a minefield – or an all-out assault on Bercow’s tenure as Speaker

A bleak and desperate Theresa May during general election night 2017

Theresa May will be reeling this evening after Commons Speaker John Bercow dramatically blocked her attempt to bring her dire, twice-defeated Brexit deal back to Parliament for a third and fourth ‘meaningful vote’.

There are three possible ways a desperate May might attempt to bypass or overcome Bercow’s ruling:

  • pass a parliamentary motion to set aside convention – almost certainly doomed to fail
  • prorogue Parliament to begin a new session – a move that would immediately increase chances of a new general election
  • plough ahead and publish her Withdrawal Bill, atempting to claim it satisfies ‘Section 13‘ of the 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act

The last item would probably be ruled unlawful, given that condition (b) of Section 13 states that:

(b) the negotiated withdrawal agreement and the framework for the future relationship [must] have been approved by a resolution of the House of Commons on a motion moved by a Minister of the Crown,

SKWAWKBOX comment:

May is in desperate straits and could well decide that an all-out assault on Bercow’s position as Speaker is her best chance of survival. The Tories’ track record of attacking Bercow when his rulings are inconvenient leaves this avenue wide open.

Mr Bercow and supporters of parliamentary democracy should batten down the hatches to weather the assault.

In more principled times, May would resolve the situation by visiting the queen to ask her to dissolve Parliament and trigger a new general election. These are not principled times, at least for the Tories.

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  1. It looks like our disingenuous PM has tried to be just a little bit too clever for her good.

  2. Don’t give her any ideas. He has done what needed to be done, and taken what is the phrase ‘back control’. and Enough is enough.

    1. Give that man a knighthood he deserves it I think he single-handedly managed to try and stop this insanity and abuse of Parliament/democracy by May , he might have even saved the UK
      She’s toast and any half arsed normal professional would see that and call it “day” and call a GE

      1. Yes. I might have my reservations about Bercow’s grandstanding, but in this he is spot on – one of the few saving graces of parliament at this time.

        That said – it doesn’t necessarily move the shit-show further forward until the government comes clean and announces that ‘Leave’ is, indeed, a dishonest, ludicrous, irrational shit-show.

        … or somebody else (?!) takes the initiative and says so.

  3. P.S. In the midst of all this parliamentary shennanigans –

    DON’T FORGET TO WATCH ‘WITCH HUNT’. [https://witchhuntfilm.org]

    … if you are interested in the Labour Party and the very real threats to it.

  4. We have all heard, much too much, about the way that the ‘unwritten’ Constitution slowly evolves over time.
    Well, here’s a chance to see that in practice-since the passage (thanks Liberals and Tories) of the Act to fix elections ( in the sense of fix in time) it has been shown that normal constitutional conventions, including the old one whereby a government which cannot pass its legislation resigns,are no longer honoured, The Speaker ought to tell the Queen that the House ought to be dissolved as the only alternative to a Constitutional impasse.

    1. No! But we’ll gladly give you Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Jeremy Hunt & Jacob Rees-Mogg. In fact if you’ve got room in one of your Supermax jails, we can send you the whole Conservative Party?

  5. If May tries to bring to the house the same motion then the Speaker should reject it and ask the queen to dissolve parliament so we can have vote that really counts! A general election! We don’t have a government we have a bunch of warring tribes, hell belt on destruction. Time for real change under a Corbyn government!

  6. Bercow has been clever because he can also say that his decision might also work to up the ante on EU negotiators. (It won’t of course but theoretically, within the broad art of negotiations, he could argue that his decision does this). He is absolutely right that a twice rejected withdrawal agreement should not be re-presented unless there have been changes to it. The external conditions have not changed as one silly lawyer tried to pretend, and even if they had it would not make a meaningful vote for a 3rd time, any the less meaningless in reality. The BBC’s Kuennsberg got caught unawares on the whole thing., despite hints that this might happen last week, and is flapping about with no knowledge of Parliament’s history (e.g. Charles Ist). She is still supporting May with the way she couches her reports, reflecting the prejudices of herself as well as those who appointed her, – the revolving door into the BBC News bosses from Downing Street and Murdoch media.( Note May’s constant choice of Kuennsberg as the first to ask a question at her Press Conferences.) May herself could prorogue Parliament. That would lead to a GE. The Tories will try to have their revenge on Bercow. He may be a peacock, but he is a paragon nonetheless: commanding , decisive, knowledgeable and in control. He will go down in history as a hero and a democrat who believes in the supremacy of Parliament. The loathsome Leadsom’s face was a picture. What machinations are to come? What traps are being laid? What a complete nightmare these Tories have brought upon us.

  7. Delightful rage from the government. Bercow was obviously right as the Chair of the Commons to tell the shamble-meisters to f. off and come back with something resembling sense.

    A government w***er spluttering on Newsnight that it might mean ‘No Brexit’.

    A rabble never likes being told the bottom line

    What’s not to like?

  8. Of course, the one thing that *is* clear in this shit-show is that Brexit is a total nonsense. No ‘if’s’. no ‘but’s’.

  9. I am not the biggest fan of Constitutional Monarchies but May is the Queen’s PM and the Queen’s Government is unable to pass vital legislation. HRH therefore needs to get herself a new PM and Government that can actually govern. Under our system any constitutional impasse is resolved by the Monarch who will make a ruling on the advice of her Privy Counselor. It’s really a no brainer in this case. It was May who after the “hung” election of 2017 went to HRH and claimed that only she could form an effective Government and has so obviously failed. HRH should simply sack May if May is unwilling to resign and demand that a General Election take place.

    1. Of course, apart from the term ‘ vital legislation’ (It’s a right load of shambolic nonsense), you are essenjtially right the PM and government have lost the confidence of parliament.

      The problem with parliament is that it’s constipated and afraid to actually kick out the shambolic nonsense and go for a withdrawal of Article 50 and a GE backed by a new referendum.

      In terms of the UK’s mock constitution, Bercow was behaving entirely properly.

  10. No coincidence on the family Car Bumper Sticker message then & those accusations that ‘Mr. Wonderful is a bullying misogynist. He is a Tory MP.

  11. TM is (according to the BBC) going to ask Brussels for an initial extension till June with the option of extending it to 2 years.

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