Prime Minister Boris Johnson lost his working majority today after after a Tory MP Phillip Lee defected to the Liberal Democrats. He physicaly crossed the floor of the Commons as Mr Johnson began giving a statement on the G7 summit.
In his resignation letterhe said: “After a great deal of thought, I have reached the conclusion that it is no longer possible to serve my constituents’ and country’s best interests as a Conservative Member of Parliament …the Brexit process has helped to transform this once great Party in to something more akin to a narrow faction, where an individual’s ‘conservatism’ is measured by how recklessly one wishes to leave the European Union.”
He added: “That is why today I am joining Jo Swinson and the Liberal Democrats. I believe the Liberal Democrats are best placed to build the unifying and inspiring political force needed to heal our divisions, unleash our talents, equip us to take the opportunities and overcome the challenges that we face as a society – and leave our country and our world in a better place for the next generations.”
Earlier in the day, Formet Tory cabinet minister Justine Greening said she would not stand for the Tory party at the next election.
Even with the continued support of the DUP. Boris Johnson can no longer command a majority in the House of Commons,
Seven Labour MPs have resigned from the party to found The Independent Group. The full list is as follows:
The have made it clear that they do nt believe the Labour Party in its current form should govern.
The have published the following: Statement of Independence
“We are leaving the Labour Party to sit as the Independent Group of Members of Parliament.
Our primary duty as Members of Parliament is to put the best interests of our constituents and our country first. Yet like so many others, we believe that none of today’s political parties are fit to provide the leadership and direction needed by our country.
Our aim is to pursue policies that are evidence-based, not led by ideology, taking a long-term perspective to the challenges of the 21st century in the national interest, rather than locked in the old politics of the 20th century in the party’s interests.
As an Independent Group we aim to recognise the value of healthy debate, show tolerance towards different opinions and seek to reach across outdated divides and build consensus to tackle Britain’s problems.”
Government can no longer command a majority in the House of Commons.
Two votes in 24 hours have demonstrated that the government has lost control of the House of Commons in the critical run up to a meaningful vote on the only deal on the table for leaving the European Union. Yesterday the Commons voted by 303 to 296 to limit the government’s tax administration powers in the event of no deal. Today they voted to require the PM to come back with a new deal within three days if the current deal is voted down.
In years gone by this would have meant the collapse of the government and a general election. Since the introduction of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act however the lame duck government can limp on, incapable of passing important legislation, until a formal motion of no confidence is passed.
The Labour Party has indicated that they plan to table such a vote if, as is likely, the Government loses the meaningful vote on May’s Brexit deal.
What can we probably expect?
- May will almost certainly lose the vote. She could even put her own neck on the block threatening to resign is she loses.
- May or her deputy, in the event she goes, will have no chance at all of getting the EU agree to a different deal within three days
- With 70 days before Britain is set to leave the EU there will be no deal and no prospect of one.
- Parliament may spend some of that time discussing alternatives before concluding that there is no majority for any plan.
- There are then just three alternatives:
- We leave without a deal on March 29.
- There’s a general election – this may be enough to persuade the 27 EU countries to delay Article 50 but no guarantee that they we will – so no deal exit on March 29
- There’s a 2nd referendum. This may be enough to get Article 50 extended but no guaranteed that parliament will allow it.
What can we definitely expect?
Having analysed the public declarations of Conservative MPs this morning we’re predicting that Theresa May will win the vote of no confidence and probably by a big margin.
Of the 115 we’ve found who have gone public, 109 are supporting their party leader and just six have indicated they will vote against her. This is fewer than half the total number of Tory MPs but it is a big sample. Amongst the 109 there may me some who voice support but will secretly cast a vote of no confidence. There’s also an argument that says you are more likely to go public with a declaration of support than disloyalty. Both these factors would have to loom large to have an impact on the result.
It may not be a landslide but it will be a sizeable victory and no further leadership challenge will be permitted for 12 months. It will put May in a far stronger position than she was at the start of the week.
You can see a full list of Tory MPs here with an indication of how they will vote tonight.
The vote of No Confidence in the Prime Minister as leader of the Conservative Party will take place this evening (Wednesday 12 December). Graham Brady (above), Chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs, announced this morning that he had received the necessary 48 letters to trigger the vote.
It is likely that the PM will win. The PMs opponents within the party have struggled to reach the magic number of 48 letters in recent weeks. In other circumstances that would wound a sitting leader, damaging them enough to precipitate defeat. In these unusual times the anti May caucus, needs to find another 100 plus MPs that will vote against May at 6pm tonight. That would mean no new leader before the deadline for a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal of 21 January. The result of voting the PM out would almost certainly lead to a no deal Brexit. Most Tory MPs don’t want that.
If May wins she’s safe from another vote for 12 months by which time she will have probably have left office of her own accord. In that event, the attempt to unseat the PM by hard line Brexiteers, will have backfired.
This is the bizarre moment when Prime Minister Theresa May was accused of a “premature parliamentary ejaculation” and immediately decried that she was incapable of such a thing. The accusation and denial ‘came’ during questions following the withdrawal on the meaningful vote on May’s Brexit proposal.
We hear constantly from politicians that a people’s vote would be undemocratic. Dwell on that for a moment.
Let’s say we swallow the argument that the people have already spoken and little has changed since British public advised politicians that they wanted to leave the EU. May’s mantra ‘Brexit means Brexit’ is a broadly held view. So on the one hand politicians tell us that they must deliver Brexit and yet plan to vote against it. The May deal is the front runner in not gaining the support of the majority of MPs, but a hard Brexit would also be voted down. A Norway deal would be voted down. Canada plus plus plus would be voted down. So despite politicians telling us they must and will deliver Brexit, it seems there is no deal that they will support. So that leaves ‘no deal’.
However it’s likely that MP’s will decree that ‘no deal’ will be vetoed. So there isn’t any deal we can agree on, we won’t be allowed to leave without a deal and we won’t be given the choice to remain because asking the people would be undemocratic.
So as it stands, there’s no deal, there’s no ‘no deal’ and there’s no option to even consider whether we wish to remain.