Tory Brexiteers round on John Bercow after he snubs Commons bid to kill second referendum

Posted On: 
14th March 2019

John Bercow has come under fire after he snubbed an attempt by Brexiteers to torpedo the chances of a second referendum.

John Bercow ignored the effort by Brexit-backing MPs to put ruling out a second referendum to a vote

The Commons Speaker did not include it among the amendments he chose to be voted on by MPs on Thursday evening.

More than 100 Tory, Labour and DUP MPs had signed the amendment, which called for the Government to rule out calling a so-called "people's vote".

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Mr Bercow's decision not to choose it drew a furious response from pro-Brexit MPs.

Mark Francois, vice-chair of the European Research Group of Tory Brexiteers, said: “It had far more signatures than any other amendment on the order paper, and had three different parties supporting it."

Senior Tory backbencher Sir Bernard Jenkin questioned if Mr Bercow’s personal views on Brexit had coloured his decision.

"There might be some concern, Mr Speaker, that the selection of amendments do not reflect the will of the House,” he said

"Because the will of the House cannot be expressed on an amendment… until there has been a vote on that amendment. Therefore, given that Amendment B expresses different matters that you’ve chosen not to select, what are we to conclude from your views on these matters."

But the Speaker fired back, saying his views had no influence on the selection of amendments, adding: “It is not uncommon for a member of this House to be mightily pleased when his amendment is selected, and notably displeased when it is not. Members do have to take the rough with the smooth.

"I've given a ruling on it which I believe to be extremely reasonable."

Meanwhile, Brexit-backing Labour MP Caroline Flint welcomed Mr Bercow's decision to select an amendment calling for a second referendum.

"I am really delighted you have selected an amendment which will allow this House for the first time to vote on whether they support a second referendum or not.," she said. "So, I thank you Mr Speaker for that. And in this House nobody should be under any illusion that this vote today… is about saying do we or do we not support a second referendum and I urge the House to oppose a second referendum."