There has been a lot of talk about Labour forcing a Commons vote of no-confidence.
The no-confidence motion that Jeremey Corbyn has tabled is largely symbolic. The government doesn’t have to provide time for it to be debated and the motion won’t, of itself, trigger a General Election or force Theresa May to resign.
If it is debated and passes, Theresa May’s authority will be reduced, but as her authority already seems to be around zero, will that make any difference?
Tabling a vote of no-confidence in the government is another thing.
However, what that has meant since 2011, when the Fixed Term Parliament Act received Royal Assent, is very different to what it meant in the past.
The Fixed Term Parliament Act was introduced to provide a more stable parliamentary environment for a coalition government. As a consequence it also protects a minority government. It also removed the prerogative that the Monarch had, on advice from the Prime Minister, to dissolve Parliament and call a General Election.
The no-confidence procedure was significantly modified by the introduction of the FTP Act:
- A vote of no-confidence in the government, using the form of words prescribed in the FTP Act, has to be passed;
- If a confidence motion, again using a prescribed form of words, has not been passed within 14 days of the no-confidence vote, Parliament is dissolved and a General Election is called.
What does the Fixed Term Parliament Act say must happen after the no-confidence vote and ahead of a confidence vote held in following 14 days?
The House of Commons Public Admin & Constitutional Affairs Committee says it is not defined.
The Act provides no guidance on what happens during the 14-day period following a FTP Act no-confidence motion being passed. The Clerk of the House says that what happens during this period is a matter of politics, and not of procedure.
The 14 days allow time for confidence in the government to be re-established. Whether through a change in personnel, policy or party is a matter for the political process.
It is possible that the DUP and/or the ERG could vote against the government in the no-confidence vote and then, having extracted commitments from the government, support the government in the confidence vote.
So it doesn’t look as if a Commons no-confidence vote will unlock the door to No 10 in the short term.
A People’s Vote on what is Best for Our Country may well be the surest way to secure those elusive keys.
We value your support. Just keeping track of the campaigns and challenges that have objectives that match our own takes time and effort, much of what we do costs money that we can only afford to spend with the financial support of people like you.
Many people have contributed not once but multiple times and we know that there are practical limits on what people can do. Whether you can make a contribution (click on the image above) or not please spread the word among your contacts and on the social media.
Our aim is to help people see what’s going on, understand what they are, or aren’t, being told, and decide what is the best outcome for the UK: an outcome in the national interest, protecting fundamental citizenship rights and ensuring Parliament and not the executive is sovereign.
There is still a long way to go and there are no guarantees about what the outcome will be. The only thing that is certain is that if we stop trying we will lose.
To help protect our fundamental rights, and support Parliament in safeguarding them, please support us so we can maintain our campaign and make your voice heard.
Please share this article as widely as you can, thank you very much for your support.
Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.