Confusion as Jeremy Corbyn ditches plan for no-confidence vote in Theresa May

Posted On: 
17th December 2018

Jeremy Corbyn was forced to scrap plans to table a motion of no confidence in Theresa May after she announced a date for the vote on her Brexit deal.

Jeremy Corbyn had threatened to table a motion of no confidence in Theresa May.
PA Images

Labour had briefed journalists that the party's leader would take the unusual step if the Prime Minister failed to "announce a date for the meaningful vote immediately and the vote taken promptly".

That was around 45 minutes before Mrs May was due to update the Commons on her latest talks with EU leaders on Brexit.

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Mr Corbyn had been due to say: "I will table 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."

But in her statement, which Mr Corbyn was shown 30 minutes before it was delivered, the Prime Minister said: "I confirm today that we intend to return to the meaningful vote debate in the week commencing 7 January and hold the vote the following week."

Responding for Labour, Mr Corbyn made no reference to the no-confidence motion. Instead, he said the Government had been "dragged kicking and screaming to announce a date to re-start the debate".

A Labour spokesperson said: "The Prime Minister has been forced to bring her botched deal back to Parliament under threat of a motion of no confidence in her. 

"We will not let her cynically run down the clock to create the false choice between her botched deal and no deal.

"It is disgraceful that a month has been wasted. We were due to vote on 11 December and there can be no further attempts to dodge accountability to Parliament."

But a spokesman for Mrs May dismissed Labour's claims.

He said: "There was a copy of the statement drafted well in advance of that briefing from the leader of the Labour Party's office becoming available."

On Labour's claims that Mrs May had been forced to announce the date of the vote under pressure from Mr Corbyn, the spokesman said: "They are sadly inaccurate."

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon also cast doubt on Labour's version of events.

She tweeted: "Week of Jan 14 was always likely to be the government’s chosen timescale - by acceding to it, Labour is allowing them to waste another month. And when there are only three months left to avert disaster, that’s really not excellent tactics."