FOR months now, Theresa May has been resisting every effort to give MPs more of a say over how the UK leaves the EU. But everyone concerned about the effects of Brexit has always hoped the rebels would eventually find a way to ensure the voice of the Commons was heard. And now, it seems, thanks to the Speaker John Bercow, they have.

The details of this week’s vote are complicated but what they amount to is this: if the PM’s deal is voted down next week then the amendment proposed by Dominic Grieve and passed by MPs will require the Government to come back within three days to debate the next step. Crucially, the Commons will then have a chance to vote on alternative policies, including a second referendum or a different version of Brexit.

The Speaker’s critics say that, in allowing this to happen, he has ignored parliamentary precedent, but we are in unprecedented times and Mr Bercow is right to say that the past is important but not binding. We should also be in no doubt about what motivates the MPs who are citing precedent – their concern is not parliamentary procedure but getting their version of Brexit or, in some cases, a no-deal Brexit. As he often does, the Leader of the House Ken Clarke summed it up best when he suggested some of the MPs who were getting over-excited might want to don a yellow jacket and go outside.

The most important point – to use the words of the Brexiters – is that the House of Commons is taking back control. The bullying allegations against the Speaker may make him a difficult hero, but the action he has taken has hastened the moment when the Government has to contemplate an alternative approach; it also reduces the ability of the PM to delay in an attempt to frighten MPs into accepting her deal. And in helping to unite a majority of MPs, the vote has achieved something even more important: in the face of a hapless government and a weak Prime Minister, it allows the House of Commons to start to take control, at last, of this chaotic process.