Saturday, 7 Dec 2019

Remainer Bercow claims second Brexit referendum ‘could happen’ – ‘No legal reason why not’

John Bercow believes the option of a second Brexit referendum is “possible” and “could happen”. The House of Commons Speaker also clarified he was “not recommending or arguing” for a second Brexit referendum. On whether there is any chance of a second referendum, Mr Bercow told France 24: “Yes. I think there is a possibility.

“I think if Parliament won’t approve an agreement and if Parliament doesn’t want the UK to leave without an agreement, there would in those circumstances.

“I’m not recommending this, I’m not arguing this, I’m not saying this is what should happen. But in those circumstances there are only two other possibilities, one is that there is a General Election, which might change the arithmetic, the parliamentary mathematics.

“And the other possibility is that here could be another referendum in which people are confronted with the option of leaving with a deal, a specific deal, or leaving with no deal.

“And the alternative of continuing with the deal we have now, which means remaining in the EU. Is that possible? Is a second referendum possible? Yes it’s possible.

“It’s true there was a referendum that decided we should leave but that was in the last Parliament.

“I’m not arguing it should be reversed, but constitutionally is there a legal reason or constitutional reason why it shouldn’t be reversed by another referendum? No that could happen.”

Mr Bercow has often been accused of not respecting constitutional conventions and showing bias in his parliamentary decisions.

Conservative MP Marcus Fysh previously told the MailOnline: “I don’t think it is any secret that the Speaker is trying to stop Brexit. That is evident from what he has been doing to help those who have been trying to do that within Parliament.

“It is just a fact of life, that is one of the things Government is having to deal with at the moment.” Mr Bercow, 56, has served as Speaker for ten years and was widely expected to stand down this year.

He was expected to make a statement to the House when MPs returned from Easter recess on April 23 announcing his plans to make way for his successor over the summer.

But now, amid the continuing Brexit crisis, he has decided he is best placed to stay in his position for the time being.

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Mr Bercow maintains his job is to protect and act in the interests of parliament as a whole and not the executive, and has denied all accusations of bias.

There have been reports that Mr Bercow was persuaded to stay by pro-remain MPs including Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Letwin, but the claims have been called “complete rubbish” by those concerned.

Mr Bercow has never set an official date for his departure. Last year, amid criticism of his handling of Parliamentary bullying accusations, friends suggested that he would depart this summer.

A spokesman for the Speaker’s office said: “The Speaker was elected by the House in 2017 for the course of the Parliament. In the event he has anything to say on his future plans, he will make an announcement to the House first.”

It is unclear when Mr Bercow could leave, given the UK’s deadline to leave the EU has now been pushed back to October 31, 2019.

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