Jeremy Corbyn under pressure to table no-confidence vote in the Government after day of confusion

Posted On: 
18th December 2018

Jeremy Corbyn has been urged to table a no-confidence vote in the Government in a move which could lead to a general election.

Theresa May appears to be calling the Labour leader's bluff
Credit: 
PA Images

Following a day of confusion at Westminster, the Labour leader last night tabled a motion of no-confidence in Theresa May after she announced that MPs would not get to vote on her Brexit deal until the third week of January.

He had earlier appeared to ditch the plan, despite his office briefing journalists in advance that he would do it.

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But critics branded Mr Corbyn's move a "gimmick" because, unlike a full-blown motion of no confidence in the Government, it does not have the power to remove the Prime Minister from office.

Downing Street branded it a “silly political stunt” and said it would only allow parliamentary time for a full-blown no-confidence vote in the Tory administration.

A source said: “There is a method under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act if MPs want to express no-confidence in the Government.

“We are not going to allow time for a stunt vote at a crucial time for Parliament and the country as we try to get a Brexit deal.”

But a Labour spokesperson said: "If the Prime Minister refuses to hold the vote, it is clear that she does not believe she retains the confidence of this House."

LABOUR STRATEGY

The DUP - which props up the minority Tory government - and hardcore pro-Brexit Tories who tried to topple Mrs May last week have said they would back the Government if the Labour motion comes to a vote.

Labour has argued it does not want to table a vote of no-confidence in the Government unless it is sure it can win - but critics argue the party wants to avoid having to shift its Brexit policy.

A motion at its party conference in September agreed that the party could support a second EU referendum if it fails to secure a general election.

'GIMMICK'

Meanwhile, opposition parties tabled an amendment to the Labour motion that would bump it up to a full confidence vote, as they laid into Mr Corbyn over his failure to try to bring down the Government.

Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said: “It’s clear that Jeremy Corbyn is using every subterfuge possible to avoid the responsibility of pushing a real motion of no confidence in the Government.

“He seems more interested in installing a new Tory Prime Minister in Downing Street than in the General Election he keeps talking about.”

And SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford scoffed: “Labour's motion was a gimmick - it has been left to the real opposition to step in and strengthen it to hold the whole UK government to account.”