Brexit: Speaker rules out third meaningful vote

By Oliver Haill

Date: Monday 18 Mar 2019

Brexit: Speaker rules out third meaningful vote

(Sharecast News) - Theresa May cannot bring her Brexit deal back for a third 'meaningful vote', the House of Commons speaker ruled on Monday, sending the pound plummeting again.
As the Prime Minister's deal has twice been resoundingly defeated in parliament, speaker John Bercow said the government cannot ask MPs for a third go, unless the deal has changed.

Citing Erskine May, parliament's rule book, Bercow said the convention dates back to 1604.

The rulebook suggested that stopping multiple votes on same issue was a "necessary rule to ensure sensible use of the House's time", the speaker said.

He clarified that a change in "an opinion" about the deal, such as a new legal opinion from the attorney general, would not be enough of a change to allow May a third tilt at a vote.

Such a decision may well have proven to be a moot point, as Downing Street was reported earlier to be mulling postponing or shelving the vote - known at MV3 - if the government could not persuade a sizeable numbers of hard-Brexiters from its own party's European Research Group or Northern Ireland's DUP to come round to its way of thinking.

At a press briefing on Monday, Number 10 refused to commit to holding another vote on May's withdrawal arrangements this week, unless it is believed there is a "prospect of success".

Following the speaker's surprise ruling at just after 1530 GMT, the pound sharply extended its earlier losses, tumbling 0.8% against the euro and 0.7% versus the dollar to 1.1642 and 1.3199 respectively.

Market analysts Naeem Aslam at Think Markets said: "Basically, we have more uncertainty in the market, now the government will have to come back with substantial changes (which is literally impossible) in relation to the deal otherwise it means a prolonged delay. The chances of the UK crashing out of the EU have increased once again because the EU needs a clear plan and a strategy before they grant an extension."

Pouring cold water on the government's possibly further meaningful votes on the deal was a big blow for the government, said Neil Wilson at Markets.com, as it seemed "rather unlikely" that the proposition would be able to change significantly.

"However, it is worth noting that the government has already rowed back expectations for a third vote, with government ministers saying over the last day or so that they would only bring a vote if they thought they would win it. Based on reports today that has looked increasingly unlikely as it does not look like the DUP or ERG are ready to swing behind the PM. Nevertheless, it does rather close off the options for the PM at this critical stage."

Wilson said the after the GBPUSD shipped about 50 pips before recovering some poise, traders in this kind of febrile atmosphere have a tough time as it is not abundantly clear what the speaker's ruling means.

"Does it raise or lower the prospect of a no-deal? Does it make it more or less likely that an extension to Article 50 will be longer than the short three-months? Tough times trading sterling right now."


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