Barry Gardiner confirms Labour preparing no-confidence motion if Theresa May loses Brexit vote

Posted On: 
9th January 2019

Labour are preparing to hold a vote of no-confidence in the government if the Theresa May loses next week's crunch Brexit vote, a shadow frontbencher has confirmed.

Barry Gardiner said his party would seek to "immediately" table a no confidence vote in the government

Shadow International Trade Secretary Barry Gardiner said the party would "immediately" table the motion in a bid to bring down the Government if MPs vote down the Prime Minister's Brexit deal next week.

Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme after ministers suffered a fresh Commons defeat over a no-deal Brexit, he said: “The Government has been defeated on a finance bill for the first time since 1978.

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"We are now talking as if it is expected that the Government next Tuesday will be defeated on the most important piece of legislation that has come before Parliament in 50 or more years, that the government has taken two years of its time trying to negotiate and we are now almost expecting that this will be defeated and voted down.

“Obviously the next thing to do immediately after that is for there to be a vote of confidence in the Government.”

But the Labour heavyweight dismissed criticism of the party for failing to table the motion last month after Mrs May pulled a vote on her deal in the face of a defeat.

“The appropriate time to table a motion of confidence in the government is when the government loses its key legislation and no longer commands a majority in the House of Commons,” he said.

The frontbencher added: “I hope the vote next week goes against the Government because this is the wrong deal. But it is still possible that she could bring together, by hook or by crook, some sort of coalition, but I don’t think that will happen.

“We have said we will bring forward a vote of no confidence in the Government when they lose their key legislation, but more than that, the country should be demanding a general election.

"In any other country around the world, when the country lost its finance bill and its most important piece of legislation in 50 years, we would be saying of course there should be a general election."

Meanwhile, Mr Gardiner rowed back on comments he made at the weekend where he suggested the party would commit to holding a public vote on any deal which a Labour government re-negotiated with the EU, saying they were a "personal view".

“I was asked a question about when it might or could be appropriate, and I gave a personal view," he said.

"What I need to stress to you, and what I also said in that interview, is that we have a deeply divided country over this issue. It is the responsibility of government not to simply say, ‘we think this half of the citizens are right, and that half are wrong and they can go to the wall.’"

Mr Gardiner added: “What I have always said is that we have to reunite the 52 and the 48 per cent. We have to find a way through that respects our fellow citizens. We cannot do that by ignoring what they say."