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