Jo tables motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government

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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson MP has tabled a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. She has also written to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to move an official motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson.

Speaking having tabled the motion, Jo Swinson said:

Boris Johnson holds no mandate from the public or Parliament. His steadfast refusal to rule out proroguing Parliament in order to crash the UK out of the EU demonstrates that he is willing to jeopardise our NHS, jobs, and the economy. He is not fit to lead this country.

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.

Liberal Democrats will continue to fight to stop Brexit. We will do all we can to work cross party to secure a people’s vote with the option to stay in the EU.

The text of the Liberal Democrat motion is as follows: That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minster; rejects the option of the UK crashing out of the EU; and rejects the option of Parliament being prorogued before Friday 8 November 2019. It can be found here.

The text of the cross-party letter to Jeremy Corbyn is as follows:

Dear Jeremy,

Boris Johnson does not hold a mandate from Parliament or the general public to be Prime Minister. His reckless refusal to rule out proroguing Parliament in order to crash the UK out of the EU without a deal demonstrates that he is not fit to lead this country.

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.

Your sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats

* News Meerkat - keeping a look-out for Liberal Democrat news. Meerkat photo by Paul Walter

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  • Bernard Aris 25th Jul '19 - 2:37pm

    Seeing the Labour reaction on the BBC liveblog of Johnsons Commons Statement ( ; at 11:42 oçlock), they are clearly rattled that Jo has stolen a march on Corbyn in profiling their parties as “Remain” and anti-Boris…


  • John Peters 25th Jul '19 - 2:58pm

    Two days ago Jo Swinson ruled out collaborating with Labour if Mr Corbyn was in charge. Today she wants to collaborate.

    Two days ago Jo Swinson said she would ignore a People’s vote if it was again Leave. Today she is asking for a People’s vote.

  • Thank goodness! I have been watching this far right soft coup with almost equal measures of amazement and amusement.

    A motion of confidence should be what the Bozo co want, and I have to say that I am astonished that the Monarch asked him to form a government and thereby assume the office of PM etc – on the bases of no assurance whatsoever that he can command a majority in the house.

    Parties can and do change leaders under our broken system, and MPs can change hats. The clear difference with the past is that Gordon Brown inherited a Blair majority – ie he could show confidently that he could meet the sole constitutional requirement (other than not being a catholic). Bozo leads a minority party, and even if he bungs lots of cash at the DUP I can’t see how they can be seen as credible stable partners – look at what they did May. More than this, some of his MPs have said they will bring him down – and as it stands even with the Orange Bung he has a majority of just 2.

    The Monarch can, therefore, be seen to have taken sides; certainly in not requiring him to show he has the house’s confidence first, her advisers (they always get the blame) have erred badly this time.

  • David Pearce 25th Jul '19 - 3:12pm

    Why have you never once spoken about the voters who voted to leave apart from saying basically that we didn’t know what we had voted for.I find this insulting to the people and It’s the MP’s who did not listen and conspired not to deliver Brexit.I am a proud Britain who was told that I must always vote because people died for us to have the vote.Shame on you for taking that belief away.Never vote again and will tell my children and grand children the real reasons.

  • David Becket 25th Jul '19 - 3:49pm

    Continuing to campaign to rejoin the EU, which is what the position would be, is not ignoring the Peoples Vote. Likewise if Remain won the Peoples Vote Leave would continue to campaign to leave.

  • Richard Underhill 25th Jul '19 - 4:14pm

    The DUP are likely to support the Conservatives as part of a long-term arrangement which needs updating.
    They are also saying they want the devolved Assembly to meet.
    Theresa Villiers has been moved.
    It is obviously possible for traders who wish to operate legally to provide data remotely,
    but leaving a loophole for those who do not is obviously risky.

  • Richard O'Neill 25th Jul '19 - 4:47pm

    At the moment a fresh election is probably what is needed, although it may well provide yet another hung parliament. Boris Johnson is acting with the overconfidence of a PM who has a huge majority in Parliament, rather than a minority govt. Or perhaps he is just bluffing.

    On the Second Referendum, I was really disheartened but not surprised when both Jo and Caroline Lucas suggested they wouldn’t vote for Brexit in Parliament even if that was the result in a further referendum. Really what is the point of having one if MPs aren’t going to endorse the result of it, one way or the other. We will just have a repeat of the 2016 referendum and all the complications that have ensued.

    I’d like to see a bit more courage and see both of them pledge to vote for Brexit if that won. It’s a risk, but otherwise this is just more ammunition to Brexiteers that the whole thing is being rigged.

  • Richard Underhill 25th Jul '19 - 5:31pm

    25th Jul ’19 – 4:14pm
    and Karen Bradley has been sacked, replaced by Julian Smith.
    Is there enough time for him to “Listen and learn”?

  • John Peters – “Two days ago Jo Swinson ruled out collaborating with Labour if Mr Corbyn was in charge. Today she wants to collaborate.”
    She ruled out working IN GOVERNMENT with a Corbyn-led Labour party – and rightly so. But in the current HoC she will work with members of all parties to stop Brexit – just like Vince and Tim did before her. You should quote what people actually say, not what you want them to have said.

  • John Peters 25th Jul '19 - 6:31pm

    @TonyH I don’t really understand why collaborating can’t be used for working with another party regardless of whether they are in or out of Government. Isn’t the point that you don’t say I won’t work with you one day and then shortly after say please work with me. Perhaps that’s why Labour hit back, accusing the Lib Dems of a “childish and irresponsible” push that would only “strengthen” the new PM.

  • You refer to Jo’s letter to Jeremy Corbyn as being “cross-party”, but it seems that she is the only signatory. Perhaps it would have been more effective if the letter had also been signed on behalf of the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, The Independent Group for Change, etc.

    Realistically, however, it is obvious that any no confidence motion would currently be regarded as premature by many (otherwise potentially persuadable) MPs. I understand why Jo wishes to use this opportunity to exert moral pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to support a Lib Dem initiative … but, as she will also appreciate, any such motion would clearly have a better prospect of success in the autumn if/when it becomes obvious – even to dissident Tory MPs – that this may be the only remaining parliamentary means of preventing the UK from “crashing out” of the EU with no deal.

  • Sean Hagan 25th Jul ’19 – 6:40pm,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,. I understand why Jo wishes to use this opportunity to exert moral pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to support a Lib Dem initiative ………

    Oh, dear, Have we forgotten Vince Cable’s refusal to support any vote of no confidence by Corbyn last January?

  • Paul Barker 25th Jul '19 - 8:03pm

    Mrs Thatcher put down 6 Votes of No Confidence in The Callaghan Government, the first 5 failed – were they too early ?
    The chances of getting a General Election before Halloween are not Zero but they aren’t good either, Our VONC is pretty close to being the last chance for a Parliamentary route out of Brexit. Labour are faffing about because they don’t much mind the Country being wrecked – all the more space for Real Socialism.

  • David,
    You can vote for stupidity as often as you want, tis your right. What isn’t your right is to insist I and others that see Brexit for the stupidity it is tagalong. As to demanding respect, you earn that and if you believe in Brexit well you’ll get dammed little from me and I suspect dammed little from the people your whining too.

  • John Peters – Joining a coalition means signing up to a whole term of agreed policies, and also stating your confidence in that person as Prime Minister. Jo doesn’t believe Corbyn is fit to be PM.
    So, co-operation on individual issues where we agree? Yes. Locking into a full 5-year agreement to support a man who is not fit to lead the country? No. Incidentally we take exactly the same view on the Tory party under Johnson, and also with the SNP while they insist on independence. Coalition? No. Working together on shared objectives as they arise? Of course.

  • jayne mansfield 25th Jul '19 - 10:11pm

    Those who have pushed for a hard Brexit are now in charge, whereas prior to the election of Johnson as PM they were rightly accused of avoiding responsibility for their actions.

    I want to know what they intend to do now that they are responsible and accountable, I don’t want any blame for failure shifted onto responsible politicians who behave in what I view as criminally reckless behaviour.

    The people of this country have a right to hear how a Johnson government believes it can overcome mutually incompatible barriers to achieving what they have claimed and continue to claim are surmountable problems.

    I would not support an immediate attempt to win a vote of no confidence which I believe will offer our new, and in my opinion, utterly reckless Johnson government, a let out, and the mantle of victimhood worn so easily by thwarted geniuses of the, ‘I would have, if I could have’ brigade.

  • jayne mansfield 25th Jul '19 - 10:14pm


    responsible politicians who so not behave in……

  • John Marriott 25th Jul '19 - 10:24pm

    Oh, ‘frankie’, your stance continues to epitomise all that is wrong with the Brexit debate. You want to stay in and so do I. However, whether we like it or not, three years ago, in terms of votes cast, you and I were in a minority – just. Calling people who disagree with you names does not help us to find some sort of consensus. You should ask yourself why the largest minority (around 38%) of the voting population decided to reject membership of the EU.

    They may indeed have been lied to by the Leave campaign; but, equally, using tactics commonly referred to as ‘Project Fear’ clearly failed to persuade them to want to remain. Even at this late hour we need to find a position to which most people could sign up. That is why I was disappointed in Jo Swinson apparently saying that, even if another People’s Vote came out again for Leave, she would not accept it. Perhaps you would agree.

    I still share the view of such disparate commentators as Simon Jenkins and Peter Hitchens, that, if the dust finally settles, we could find ourselves half in, in terms of trade, and half out, in terms of political union. I could live with that and I reckon the majority of the British people could as well.

  • This issue of Jo saying she would ‘not accept’ a Leave vote in another referendum is getting a lot of attention, and I agree with John M that it’s not a good look. BUT I think there’s a bit of Chinese whispers going on here. The important thing is: what did she actually say? (as opposed to what people say she said?)
    I believe I saw this interview – I can’t remember when/where it was but I think I had the TV on while working and so I half-heard it. So I could be wrong, but my recollection is that she did NOT say she ‘wouldn’t accept’ a Leave result, but that it wouldn’t alter her view that Brexit was wrong. That’s very different from saying she ‘wouldn’t accept’ it. After all I hope all Remainers would still want to remain.
    I think the parallel is with the AV referendum in 2011: we hated the result, and it certainly didn’t stop us wanting to continue campaigning for PR, but we still ‘accepted’ that result, in the sense that we didn’t challenge it or call for another vote. We accepted that the fight for PR was basically over, for that term at least. But it didn’t make us suddenly think FPTP is brilliant.
    I believe that’s what Jo said the other day. It wasn’t, to be fair, her best ever piece of communication, and it wasn’t helped by the interviewer talking over her. But I think that’s what I heard: A Leave vote would not make her change her own conviction that Brexit is very wrong and damaging to the country. I think that’s a good line, and people will like it if explained properly.
    It would be good to find the tape and see it again. It would also be good if Jo could issue a clarification of some kind, because it’s an important issue and the idea of ‘she just wont listen to the public unless they agree with her’ is gaining traction.

  • Later Lib Dems can point out, that Labour could have prevented Brexit, if Corbyn had acted now.

  • John,
    I’m consistent. I’ve always said Brexit is stupidity on stilts and there is no good Brexit. You seem to believe that with a bit of give and take we can muddle through. I suppose that might work if the Brexiteers had a flexible approach, but they don’t all they want you to do is tagalong with them and marvel at their sagacity. Well I don’t do tagalong and the only wondering I do is at their stupidity. I was once long ago told by my manager “You don’t suffer fools gladly” well I haven’t changed, consistency again.

    I’d urge you to review where we are, three plus years in, up a smelly creek, no paddle, in a boat full of whining fellows squealing “Just believe, be positive” and singing “I believe we can fly” while the world looks in astonishment and laughs and ask yourself “Perhaps trying to achieve consensus with these poor deluded souls is not possible”.

  • Martin 25th Jul ’19 – 9:30pm……………….Expats: I have not forgotten that Corbyn put something that looked like a no-confidence motion, but actually was not……………

    How could Corbyn try a to instigate a vote of NC, which would be won/lost by a whisker, when the support of 12 crucial votes were ruled out beforehand?

    Again I note the LD ‘my party right or wrong’ rose tinted memory of history…

  • John Peters 26th Jul '19 - 8:41am

    “We demand a People’s Vote

    They can not, must not and will not force this broken Brexit on the British people without giving us the final say. The time has come when we must all stand up and demand: Put it to the People”

    We now have a clearer understanding of what progressive politics means. It is not pretty.

    Both the Lib Dems and the Greens have made clear that a People’s Vote would solve nothing as they would ignore the vote when they lose again.

    They have scuppered a People’s Vote.

  • Poor John you so want us to tagalong with your Monty python crusade. Ain’t going to happen mate, some of us just don’t do stupidity no matter how much you whine.

  • Dilettante Eye 26th Jul '19 - 8:53am


    Jo Swinson did say she would continue to campaign against Brexit. But to continue campaigning is a tacit refusal to accept the leave result, and what would she be campaigning for if not yet another iteration of Peoples Vote? Maybe of the 3rd or 4th try, she would insist on the questions being :

    1. Remain in the EU
    2. Stay in the EU

    Rather than ‘Chinese whispers’, and second guessing what she said or meant, is it beyond the whit of someone to write and ask her for a statement of what she meant?

  • I am not sure that there is anything anti-democratic about continuing to argue for a cause you believe in, even if one has to accept that the cause is in a minority for now. So, if there is another EU Referendum (although I prefer a GE as there are other things to discuss!), and it ends up with the same result, then we should Leave. However, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a campaign to Re-Join! If Remain had won the first time, or does the second time, the Leave campaign will continue. Do you think Nigel Farage or Boris are going to keep quiet!

    Looking at history , William Wilberforce’s parliamentary campaign to abolish slavery was unsuccessful on many occasions but he persevered and eventually his arguments won the day. That’s just one example.

  • John Peters 26th Jul '19 - 9:06am

    Thankyou for the comment frankie. I always enjoy engaging with the differently thinking.

    You reminded me of Mr Rees-Mogg’s comment to Tom Brake. Always good for a laugh.

  • ayne mansfield 25th Jul ’19 – 10:11pm………………I want to know what they intend to do now that they are responsible and accountable,……The people of this country have a right to hear how a Johnson government believes it can overcome mutually incompatible barriers to achieving what they have claimed and continue to claim are surmountable problems……………………….

    Oh ye of little faith; Johnson explained it completely yesterday in his speech. All that is needed is for us to”Strengthen our sinews” to achieve “A new golden age”; etc.
    There can be no doubt that this is all that is required; the praise from his supporters lauding his “Boy’s Own rhetoric” and “Can Do atttitude” made that clear…

    We, as a nation , are in the hands of an evangelical US preacher lookalike, “Don’t listen to anyone telling you that complicated treatment is needed; just believe enough and you’ll be cured”

  • John Marriott 26th Jul '19 - 9:42am

    By your reaction, which would, I feel, be more at home in some of the less cerebral social media sites, you show that you are incapable of entertaining a reasoned debate that actually involves coming to terms with the fact perhaps there may be opinions out there as sincerely held as yours. Could you please change your script and drop that word ‘tagalong’? You are talking to someone, who has studied and worked in two of the original EEC members and who speaks their language and probably has a deeper understanding of what makes their citizens tick than many over here, not the we would know in your case, as you remain annoyingly anonymous. To resort to sarcasm and insult is for me the sign not only of a closed mind but also of someone who obviously lives their life in black and white. Oh, to have your certainty!
    @Richard C
    A campaign to rejoin? And accept Schengen, the Euro and Federalism? That was the argument levelled at the SNP during the Scottish Independence Referendum. Have you any idea what kind of Pandora’s box you would be opening if you went down that route? If you think that the EU would treat us like the Prodigal Son you have more faith in human nature than I have.

  • There is not going to be a people’s vote, so it’s irrelevant whether or not its more beatific Remain advocates would theoretically accept a results they don’t like. Their idea was never to give voters a choice or to reach a consensus or to avoid so-called “hard Brexit”.. It was always and only ever about staying in the EU . A lot of them deeply believe in the Pan-European political unification project. But a lot of us equally think European political unification is a misguided and undesirable concept.

  • John,

    I exist among the precariat, cerebral they are not. I do however have a much greater understanding of their concerns and worries than you appear to do. The ivory tower is nice but it does rather remove you from the worries of those “just about not managing”. Their life is red in tooth and claw and no amount of reasoned debate will change that. As to Brexiteers believes being sincerely held, I have no doubt they are, but I also know a number of people who sincerely believe the world is flat and I think they are stupid too. If my comments offend you, well feel free to skip on by; I shall continue to read yours as on the whole I find them interesting even though I don’t agree with everything you say.

  • Katharine Pindar 26th Jul '19 - 10:11am

    John Marriott, I think you and Frankie are not so far apart. He has consistently derided the fantasies of the Brexiteers, now being carried on by Boris Johnson, unfortunately become our PM, and his latest jibe was directed at John Peters. Isn’t it a time for Remainers to stay strong together?

  • Richard Underhill 26th Jul '19 - 10:33am

    Jo Swinson said on TV that this is an Early Day Motion.
    Famously in 1979 the SNP tabled an EDM expressing dissatisfaction with Jim Callaghan’s government because of inadequate progress towards devolution.
    This was followed by a motion of no confidence in the Labour government tabled by the then leader of the opposition, Margaret Thatcher, who was not arguing for devolution.
    The motion was defeated by one vote after an MP from Northern Ireland flew in for the vote but abstained. He had got nothing from the PM, but, reportedly, two bottles of whisky from an undisclosed source. (The Reunion, BBC Radio 4).
    The previous general election had been in the autumn of 1974. There was, in those days, a maximum five year term.
    A general election followed.
    THE SNP MPs became known as ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’, suffering unemployment for their cause.
    Tories in Scotland opposed devolution.

  • Jo Swinson’s comment can be found on the BBC iplayer. All she said was that she did not believe in Brexit as she thought it would be damaging to Britain therefore she would continue to campaign to Remain in the EU.
    Those who did not accept the result of the1975 referendum to remain in the EU have been campaigning against it ever since.

  • nvelope2003 26th Jul '19 - 3:13pm

    Sorry for the term EU – I should have said Common Market or EEC but all but those who claim to have been very ill informed knew what it was all about then and that is why I voted to stay in 1975. As Margaret Becket who opposed it then but supports it now has said, it was all perfectly clear at the time.

  • David Pearce – what of the people who voted to leave though? The referendum was dubious, in my opinion, but so far the state hasn’t declared it so dubious as to be void, so the result stands. The position we are in results entirely from Cameron’s folly in saying the outcome would be binding, and in not actually specifying what sort of out ‘out’ was to be. This is surely because he thought Remain would win. It didn’t, and senior Brexiters failed the country when it needed leadership. In fact, they still haven’t decided what ‘out’ means, but leaving aside that gross incompetence, Brexiters has three chances to take us out this year and turned down every one.
    We now have a Right Wing government in power only through a putsch within the Tory party and, last time I looked, we were still committed as a nation to Brexit (even though two parts of the U.K., including the one that isn’t actually on Great Britain, voted to remain … in fact I have argued before that Brexit should be termed WEREXIT, since only Wales and England voted to go).

    So, in answer to your question, what of the people who voted to leave? They are having things their own way! The only things that democratically could stop Brexit are a second referendum (but i only support this in the event that the first is proven defective), a party that says in is manifesto it will revoke Art 50 coming to power, or Brexiters collectively coming to their senses. Since the first appears unlikely now, and the last even less so, forgive me now for talking to and with people concerned with making the second happen.

    Of course, in none of the above to we surrender our right to begin to campaign for UKREENTRY the minute Brexit might happen. After all, Brexiters did it for 40 years!

  • Can we all resolve to stop treating the words stupid, ignorant, and foolish as synonyms, please? Doing so fouls up many debates by adding to unnecessary confusion. This request of mine may well be foolish.

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