MPs could be asked overrule John Bercow’s decision to block a third meaningful vote on Theresa May’s Brexit deal by holding “a vote for a vote”, the solicitor general has claimed.
Robert Buckland said on Tuesday morning that if a majority of MPs backed holding another vote on the deal, parliamentary rules meant it would go ahead.
But Tory MP Nick Boles argued if May still does not have a Commons majority for her deal, she would also not have a majority to overturn Bercow’s ruling. “No point making the attempt,” he said.
Buckland did not rule out taking the “drastic” step of cutting short the current session of parliament and starting a new one in order to get around the speaker’s decision. “That could be done,” he told the BBC.
The prime minister’s cabinet meets this morning after Bercow torpedoed her plan to push another Commons vote on her deal this week, before the EU Council summit on Thursday.
Stephen Barclay, the Brexit secretary, said the intervention of the speaker meant there was a “growing risk of no Brexit”.
He said that, while the cabinet would give “serious consideration” to Bercow’s ruling, May’s plan remained “the only deal on the table”.
Bercow faced awkward questioning from the media as he made his way to the Commons on Tuesday.
The speaker refused to be drawn when he was asked a series of questions regarding his controversial ruling as he walked towards parliament – although he did comment on a reporter’s bobble hat.
Speaking this morning, Buckland said: “The House of Commons is sovereign and MPs by a majority can decide to do whatever they like with procedure.
“There is way to deal with this. The Commons would have to pass a resolution saying, not withstanding that [Bercow’s] view, we should proceed to a vote.”
He added: “The speaker’s view, although is very important and has a binding nature, can be not be quite disregarded, but certainly moved on from, if the Commons wish it to be so.
“What the speaker has done is create a further obstacle in this increasingly difficult obstacle course.”
Jeremy Corbyn will meet leaders of the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and Green Party to discuss Brexit today.
In a joint statement ahead of the talks, Ian Blackford, Sir Vince Cable, Liz Saville Roberts and Caroline Lucas said: “The UK faces an unprecedented crisis with Brexit, and Westminster remains deeply divided.
“The best and most democratic way forward is to put the decision back to the people in a new vote – with the option to Remain on the ballot paper.”
Corbyn will also meet members of the “Norway Plus” group of MPs for separate talks on Tuesday.
Meanwhile in Dublin, European Council president Donald Tusk will hold talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar.