Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has tabled a motion of no confidence in Theresa May’s premiership, after she pushed a vote on her Brexit deal beyond Christmas.
UPDATE: Labour sources told the media the Labour leader would table a motion of no confidence in Theresa May’s premiership after her statement on progress amending her Brexit deal, but left journalists, friends, and foes alike flummoxed when he failed to do so. After initially appearing as though he had abandoned the motion of censure, he came back and put it to the Speaker of the House of Commons after all. This article has been updated to reflect these developments.
Mr Corbyn has moved a motion “That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the Withdrawal Agreement and framework for the future relationship between the UK and the EU” after she insisted pushing the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal beyond Christmas to January 14th.
His decision to move a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister specifically rather than the Government in general is interesting, as over 100 of her own MPs already called for her to go in an internal vote of no confidence — which, combined with the left-wing opposition, means there is a theoretical parliamentary majority in favour of her ouster.
However, it is not clear that Parliament has a binding power to dismiss individual Government ministers — up to and including the Prime Minister — but only the Government as a whole.
Mr Corbyn’s motion is therefore only a non-binding motion of censure, which the Government could refuse to make parliamentary time for.
.@jeremycorbyn to warn @theresa_may this pm he will initiate no-confidence vote in her as PM if she does not promptly announce an imminent date for that postponed meaningful vote on her Brexit plan. He asks her to choose which humiliation she prefers. See below words he will use pic.twitter.com/8h1ocMujXR
— Robert Peston (@Peston) December 17, 2018
A full-scale vote of no confidence in the Government would be much less likely to win the support of Tory rebels or the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which opposes the Prime Minister’s deal but has hitherto propped her minority administration up, as it would essentially put their ad hoc coalition out of office.
With the Prime Minister’s deal seemingly unable to pass through the House of Commons, the internal vote of no confidence in her leadership by Tory MPs defeated, and the EU seemingly unwilling to change the deal as it stands, Mr Corbyn has been under pressure to move a no confidence motion for some time.
With little time left to arrange for any alternative to a Brexit on either Mrs May’s deal or World Trade Organization terms — “No Deal” — it seems the 69-year-old socialist’s hand has been forced.
This story is developing…