Opposition parties challenge Jeremy Corbyn as they table no confidence motion in government

Posted On: 
18th December 2018

Opposition parties have joined forces to table a motion of no confidence in the Government - and challenged Jeremy Corbyn to back it.

Ian Blackford, Liz Saville-Roberts and Vince Cable are among those backing the no-confidence motion.
Credit: 
PA Images

The move came as pressure mounts on the Labour leader to make his move to bring down Theresa May.

Mr Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister herself on Monday, but the Government refused to make Parliamentary time available for it to be debated.

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Instead, ministers challenged Labour to put down a confidence motion in the Government - a move which could potentially trigger a general election - but the party refused.

Labour insists it will only put down a no confidence motion when it is confident of victory, which is unlikely to be before the Commons votes on Mrs May's Brexit deal in the middle of January.

But critics say Mr Corbyn's reluctance is really driven by the fact that he could be forced to back a second referendum if his bid to force an election fails.

In an attempt to force the issue, and embarrass Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and Greens have put their names to a motion of no confidence in the Government.

However, Speaker John Bercow is unlikely to make time for it to be voted on unless Labour also backs it.

Ian Blackford, the SNP's leader at Westminster, said: "Opposition leaders have taken the decision to table a vote of no confidence in the UK government under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – something Jeremy Corbyn has failed to do.

 "Labour has failed to hold the UK government to account over their shambolic Brexit negotiations. Their motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister on Monday was a gimmick.

"By tabling our motion, we hope to be afforded time by the UK government to debate it before Parliament closes for the Christmas recess.

"It is clear the Prime Minister's tactic has been to run down the clock and deprive parliament of any alternative to her deal. Jeremy Corbyn seems happy to let her - presumably to avoid having to make a decision on a second EU referendum. This is not acceptable and people deserve better.

"We want this motion to succeed but if it doesn't, Labour's only excuse for not backing a second referendum will be removed. We can then all get on with building a majority for that vote. Either way, if the official opposition won't do its job, the real opposition will."

 Lib Dem leader Vince Cable said: "The Government has challenged the Labour party to table a real ‘no confidence’ motion.  We have now done that for them. Jeremy Corbyn need only add his name, and the debate and vote would happen before Christmas.

"If he fails, it will be yet more evidence that his recalcitrance is really a rouse to avoid supporting a people’s vote. The British people now want the final say on Brexit – and millions of Labour supporters will be frustrated that it is Corbyn and his acolytes who are standing in the way."