Dozens of Labour MPs demand Jeremy Corbyn launches immediate bid to topple Theresa May

Posted On: 
10th December 2018

Dozens of Labour MPs have piled pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to launch a formal bid this week to topple Theresa May - in the hope it could lead to a second EU referendum.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
PA Images

Prominent figures led by former frontbencher Ian Murray said it was “imperative” to act and stop the Conservative party “ripping our country apart and making it much poorer in the process”.

But Labour said it would hold back until a motion of no confidence in the Government was “most likely to be successful”.

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The call came as the Prime Minister ditched plans to hold a crunch Commons vote on Brexit tomorrow - admitting she faced certain defeat.

Mr Murray wrote in a letter to Mr Corbyn, which was signed by a number of fellow Labour MPs as well as peers, that he should “use this opportunity” to make the case for a second EU referendum.

“It is imperative to take action this week under the terms of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act to table a vote of no-confidence in HM Government,” his letter said.

“If this fails, we must commit to a public vote with an option to stay in the EU straight away.”

The Edinburgh South MP added: “This is not about re-running the 2016 referendum or pitting Leavers against Remainers or vice versa but showing leadership to the country and and doing what is in the national interest...

“Let’s stand with the public and stop the Tories ripping our country apart and making it much poorer in the process.”

The letter was signed by 50 Labour figures, including ex-frontbenchers Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Luciana Berger and Kerry McCarthy.


The move heaped fresh pressure on Mr Corbyn after SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said her party would back a no-confidence vote and suggested it would prop up a Labour-led government.

She tweeted: "If Labour, as official opposition, lodges motion of no confidence in this incompetent government tomorrow, [the SNP] will support & we can then work together to give people the chance to stop Brexit in another vote. This shambles can’t go on - so how about it?"

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable and Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts also said they would support the Opposition in a confidence motion. 

But the Government would all-but certainly win a confidence motion as the DUP has vowed to support it unless the Brexit deal passes in its current form. 

A Labour spokesperson said: “We will put down a motion of no confidence when we judge it most likely to be successful.

“It is clear to us that Theresa May will not renegotiate the deal when she goes to Brussels, and will only be asking for reassurances from EU leaders.

“When she brings the same deal back to the House of Commons without significant changes, others across the House will be faced with that reality.

“At that point, she will have decisively and unquestionably lost the confidence of Parliament on the most important issue facing the country, and Parliament will be more likely to bring about the general election our country needs to end this damaging deadlock.”


The announcement by the Prime Minister today is humiliating for the Government, which until mid-morning today was insisting the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal would be going ahead.

Mrs May said she would tour EU nations ahead of the European Council summit at the end of this week to beg them to amend the backstop plan.

She also revealed that the Cabinet would discuss the ramping up of no-deal Brexit preparations when it meets later this week.

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, there would be a period of 14 days, if the Government loses a vote of no confidence, during which a new government can try to command the confidence of the House.