Government's Brexit deal needs 'substantial changes' before MPs can vote on it again

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has ruled out another vote on Theresa May's Brexit withdrawal agreement if the motion is substantially the same as last time.

The ruling means May's deal, as it stands, will not be put before MPs as anticipated would happen this week.

Bercow said the government cannot "resubmit to the House the same proposition, or substantially the same proposition," for a third time.

The Speaker cited the Commons rulebook Erskine May as he set out a convention dating back to 1604 that a defeated motion cannot be brought back in the same form during the course of a parliamentary session.

The prime minister's office took more than four hours to release a response to Bercow's decision. The thinly-worded statement extended to just twelve words, as noted by ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston.

Caught somewhat off-guard by the ruling, the prime minister's official spokesman earlier had said: "The Speaker did not warn us of the contents of the statement or indeed the fact that he was making one."

Meanwhile, MPs were far quicker to react to the decision.

Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee, says the Speaker's attempt to block a third meaningful vote is "unsurprising", adding he doesn't think the prime minster's deal is dead.

Conservative Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, said he is "delighted" Mr Bercow had decided to follow precedent.

Prisons Minister Rory Stewart tweeted: "There are stronger and weaker parts of this argument from the speaker - but the idea that debating the deal is not a good use of parliamentary time - is not a good argument."

Ardent Leaver and Conservative MP James Gray says "Brexit will not now occur," following the speaker's decision.

Ian Duncan Smith, a strong supporter of the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union, refused to discuss the key points of a meeting he attended with the prime minister at Downing Street following the decision.

Instead, the former Work and Pensions Secretary described the meeting as "good" to ITV News' Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt. He added Bercow's ruling is "pretty significant if not astonishing statement and the repercussions will take a while to wash through".

Mr Bercow said last week's second meaningful vote "did not fall foul of the convention about matters having already been decided" because there were a number of legal changes to the deal, as well as the publication of three new documents.

But he said because it has been "strongly rumoured" the Government plans to attempt to schedule a third and possibly a fourth vote, he was prompted to make today's statement "to signal what would be orderly and what would not".

With just 11 days to go to the scheduled date of Brexit, Britain is no clearer about how, when or if it will be leaving the European Union.