PM blocks Vote of No Confidence

Politics Home is one of the many media platforms covering Boris Johnson’s reaction to the Vote of No Confidence motion proposed by Labour, and supported by the Lib Dems.

It quotes Erskine May:

By established convention, the Government always accedes to the demand from the Leader of the Opposition to allot a day for the discussion of a motion tabled by the official Opposition which, in the Government’s view, would have the effect of testing the confidence of the House.

Instead, the Prime Minister has refused to allow the debate.

Although it was unlikely that the motion would have been passed, it was seen as a marker of the concern felt by many over Boris Johnson’s continued presence in No 10 over the summer.

It seems the refusal to allow the motion is based on a rather legalistic interpretation of the rules. The actual wording of the motion is this:

That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government while the Rt Hon Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip remains Prime Minister.

A Government spokesperson claims that it isn’t valid “because the Prime Minister has already resigned”. Well, we all know that, but clearly the motion is referring to the interim arrangements – the two whole months between his resignation and the installation of a new Prime Minister. This transition period can work smoothly in the hands of a person of integrity, and I include many former Prime Ministers in that, but is a dangerous period for democracy in the hands of someone shown to lack any moral compass. No wonder he has been compared with Trump – which is exactly what Ed Davey said in response:

This sounds more like Donald Trump than a serious British Government.

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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  • Laurence Cox 13th Jul '22 - 1:16pm

    There are a couple of points here:
    1) Had the current Government not repealed the FTPA (2011) the text of a motion of no confidence was fixed, so there could have been no argument about the wording:

    (4)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) is—
    “That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”

    2) The Opposition parties have 20 business days per parliamentary session on which they decide what is to be debated. Since the beginning of the session after 29th April 2021 (when the previous session ended) they have so far used 38 days according to the House of Commons Library. Had the Opposition kept a day or two in reserve for this eventuality, the Government could not have stopped them bringing their no-confidence motion.

    The Tories may come to regret repealing the FTPA, because it did allow a Government defeated in a VoNC to stay in power by passing a vote of confidence within 14 days. This would certainly have been long enough for the MPs to choose a new leader who had the support of the Parliamentary Party.

  • If the YouGov poll is correct, Mordaunt by a landslide, then the others may and it could be all over by this time next week. It may have been Johnson’s last hurrah today.

  • Tristan Ward 13th Jul '22 - 5:50pm

    @ Theakes

    There will be a vote of tory members: the rules of this election have been set do that participants can’t pull out if they get to the last 2.

    They could avoid so much of all of this just by having Tory MPs use a decent form of PR and just take to top 2 for a run off.

    For obvious reasons they can’t do that.

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