Opposition parties table vote of no-confidence in government

'It is clear the prime minister's tactic has been to run down the clock and deprive parliament of any alternative to her deal,' says SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford

Lucinda Cameron
Wednesday 19 December 2018 01:10
Ian Blackford: 'The leader of the opposition is letting the government off the hook'

The Scottish National Party (SNP) and other opposition parties have tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government.

It comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded a Commons vote on the prime minister’s future after she confirmed a vote on her Brexit deal would not take place until after Christmas.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled a vote of no-confidence in the government following a meeting.

They said the decision follows constant pressure on Mr Corbyn to table a motion of no-confidence in the government under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which he has not done.

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP met with Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts and Green MP Caroline Lucas on Tuesday and they took a joint decision to put forward a vote of no confidence in the names of the opposition leaders.

Mr Blackford 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 – we attempted to strengthen it with our own amendment and it’s regrettable it was not offered time for debate in parliament.

“By tabling our motion on Tuesday evening, 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.”

It is understood the government only has to give time to motions tabled in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Saville Roberts added: “Labour may be the ‘official’ opposition, but this is what real opposition looks like.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “The SNP seem more interested in Labour’s parliamentary tactics than in the Tory government’s botched Brexit deal, and they have made it clear they do not expect, or even want, this motion to pass. It suits the SNP to keep the Tories in power, with all the chaos and instability that will bring.

“We have said we will not table a motion like this for the purpose of it being defeated, we will do it when we judge it most likely to be successful. MPs on all sides are furious that Theresa May is running scared of bringing her deal to the Commons, and Labour is demanding a vote on this as soon as possible.”

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