Wed, 20 October 2021

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By Alex Hancock
Press releases

Opposition parties ditch SNP plan for no-confidence vote in the Government this week

Opposition parties ditch SNP plan for no-confidence vote in the Government this week
3 min read

Opposition parties have slapped down the SNP’s bid for a vote of no confidence this week as leaders agreed to hold off bringing down the Government.

A meeting between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Green party and the Independent Group for Change rejected any plan to topple Boris Johnson’s Government until they have secured an extension to the Brexit deadline.

The move comes after Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her party would be willing to support Jeremy Corbyn as a caretaker Prime Minister in order to rule out no-deal and call a General Election.

But a Lib Dem source said there was agreement a vote of no confidence in the Government now would be “unhelpful” and make no-deal more likely to happen. 

Speaking after the talks, SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford told Sky News: “We want a motion of no confidence but we need to do that on a basis that the other parties come with us as well.”

He added: “What we absolutely are united on is that we want to stop no-deal….

“We are going to continue to meet over the coming days, we need to make sure we take our responsibility seriously, we have to do everything that we can, and that includes a motion of no confidence.”

Mr Corbyn said emergency debates, a no confidence vote and also an option to beef up the provisions of the Benn Act were “absolutely in play”.

The Labour leader added: “Our agreed position is to prevent a no-deal exit and ensure that the Prime Minister obeys the act…which requires him to make an application to the EU by 19 October if no agreement has been reached by Parliament at that stage.

“There is no sign that the Prime Minister has even made an application of any sort or indeed any proposals to the EU thus far.”

And on a motion of no-confidence, he added: “We’ll do a motion of no confidence at a point when we can win it, to be clear that no-deal has been taken off the table. 

“Our priority is to prevent a no-deal exit and that is the position that all the parties have agreed on.”

Green MP Caroline Lucas said to expect more efforts this week from MPs demanding access to Government documents relating to no-deal.

It is understood opposition parties will try to secure emergency debates, known as an SO24, to force the Government to release its papers on Tuesday or Wednesday.

A Lib Dem source added they will be requesting papers relating to Operation Kingfisher on Brexit business planning, Operation Snow Bunting on policing, and Operation Black Swan on disaster planning. 

Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts said the talks with opposition leaders were “positive and constructive” on discussing their next steps.

“We discussed a range of options to ensure a disastrous crash-out Brexit is avoided and ways to hold this law-breaking Prime Minister to account,” she said.

“Plaid Cymru is clear that we must be ready to do everything in our power to stop a Prime Minister who has already proved himself so untrustworthy. 

“Boris Johnson is not above the law and we will make sure he is accountable to it.”

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