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Government cannot resubmit same Brexit deal in UK Parliament: Speaker

Brexit Photograph:( Agencies )

Reuters London, UK Mar 18, 2019, 09.53 PM (IST)

The British government must submit a different proposition to parliament to the one it lost last week if it wants to hold another vote on its Brexit plans, the parliament's speaker, John Bercow, said on Monday.

Bercow, the ultimate arbiter of whether the government can ask parliament again to pass Prime Minister Theresa May's deal to leave the European Union, said ministers could not submit the same proposition again.

"This is my conclusion: if the government wishes to bring forward a new proposition that is neither the same, nor substantially the same as that disposed of by the house on the 12th of March, this would be entirely in order," he said.

"What the government cannot legitimately do is to resubmit to the House (of Commons) the same proposition or substantially the same proposition as that of last week which was rejected by 149 votes."

Meanwhile, Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Monday that a bad exit deal was better than staying in the European Union, the strongest hint to date that he might support May's deal.

"This is a bad deal, the only reason for supporting it would be if the alternative was not leaving the European Union. I would prefer to leave now on the 29th of March without a deal and I think most people in Britain would like that too to get this over and done with," he said, adding,"But if the prime minister, off her own volition, is seeking to keep us in the European Union pretty much indefinitely that would be even worse."

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said on Monday it was worthwhile giving more time to reach an agreement with Britain over its exit from the European Union, although a long Brexit extension would be difficult.

"Before we get to a hard Brexit it's worthwhile having another go rather than just arguing about what a hard Brexit means, namely a lot of disadvantages for both sides," Maas told reporters before a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Asked about whether Brexit could be extended beyond the European elections in May, he replied: "The longer the time is pushed back, the more difficult it becomes."

Story highlights

Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg said that a bad exit deal was better than staying in the European Union.