Lib Dem Jo Swinson urges Jeremy Corbyn to trigger 'immediate' vote of no-confidence in Boris Johnson

Posted On: 
25th July 2019

The Liberal Democrats have triggered a bitter row with Labour after calling on Jeremy Corbyn to spark an "immediate" confidence vote in Boris Johnson.

The Labour leader was told by the Lib Dem chief that he "must not not sit back".
Credit: 
PA

In a letter to the Labour leader, Jo Swinson - who took over as Lib Dem leader this week - said Britain's new Prime Minister "does not hold a mandate from Parliament" and argued that only Mr Corbyn could move to bring him down.

But Labour hit back, accusing the Lib Dems of a "childish and irresponsible" push that would only "strengthen" the new PM.

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Ms Swinson has tabled her own symbolic motion saying that the House of Commons has "no confidence in the Prime Minister; rejects the option of the UK crashing out of the EU; and rejects the option of Parliament being prorogued before Friday 8 November 2019".

However, as leader of the Opposition, only Mr Corbyn can table a full-blown no confidence motion in the Government - a move that could trigger a general election.

The Lib Dem leader said in her letter: "As the Leader of the Official Opposition you are the only person in the position to call a vote of no confidence in the new Prime Minister.

"We therefore urge you to do so immediately. You must not sit back and allow this government to crash our country out of the EU. We implore you to take action and call for a vote of no confidence. It is vital that we work together to secure a people’s vote with the option to stay in the EU."

But Labour dismissed the move and accused the Lib Dems of focusing their attacks on Mr Corbyn instead of the new Tory government.

A spokesperson said: "As Jo Swinson well knows, a no confidence vote now will only strengthen Boris Johnson's hand and further his march towards no deal.

"This is childish and irresponsible game playing by the Lib Dems who are more interested in attacking Labour than stopping no deal."

Labour sources meanwhile pointed out that Ms Swinson's own bid, contained in an Early Day Motion, is not a formal confidence vote under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act and so would not be granted time in the Commons.

Today is the final day on which Mr Corbyn could table the motion of no confidence before the House of Commons breaks up for a summer recess. 

If the Labour leader were to table one today, MPs would debate and vote on it on 3 September, the first day back after the break.

If it is was passed and a new administration was not formed within a fortnight, an election would then have to take place.

Speaking after tabling her motion, Ms Swinson said the new Prime Minister was "not fit to lead this country".

The Lib Dem leader added: "That is why I have tabled this motion with my Liberal Democrat colleagues and why I have written to Jeremy Corbyn calling on him to table an official vote of no confidence in the new Prime Minister. Corbyn is the only person who can do this. It is time he stops aiding and abetting this Conservative Brexit and act."