Category Archives: Parliament

PM Will Win Tonight

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 End of May?

The day after PM Theresa May forced her draft Brexit deal through the cabinet her proposal and possibly her premiership has unravelled.  A series of resignations from government and letters to Graham Brady the chair of the Conservative 1922 Committee will trigger a no-confidence motion that will take place in days possibly as soon as tomorrow.

The only way for May to avoid the vote, which she might well win, would be to resign.  All Conservative MPs can vote and if May wins, she remains as PM and cannot be challenged by her party for 12 months. Lose and she must resign and is not eligible to stand in the leadership election that will follow.

May’s replacement will become prime minister without a general election. The election is by secret ballot and the candidate with the fewest votes is removed. Dependent on the number there are several votes (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) until only there are just two candidates who face each other in a postal ballot of the whole Conservative Party membership.  The whole process could take several weeks.

Given that the Tories have no majority the combined opposition parties could pass a vote of No Confidence in the government and trigger a general election.

George Osborne Won’t Fight Election

George Osborne is quitting as an MP.

In a letter  to Conservatives in his Tatton constituency, he said: “I am stepping down from the House of Commons – for now. But I will remain active in the debate about our country’s future and on the issues I care about, like the success of the Northern Powerhouse.

“At the age of 45, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life just being an ex-Chancellor. I want new challenges.  I’m very excited about the opportunity to edit the Evening Standard. I’ve met the team there, and their energy and commitment to this great newspaper are positively infectious.”

He was regarded as  a likely  future PM until the Brexit  vote. His Tatton seat is regarded as a very safe Tory constituency.

Theresa May in Shock Call for June 8 General Election

At 11.05am today Prime Minister Theresa May announced that there will be an early UK General Election on Thursday June 8th.  In a political speech which marked the  start of the campaign , she criticised the other parties in the context of their stance on Brexit: “If we do not hold a general election now, their political game playing will continue” she  said.

The election requires a motion in the House of Commons to be passed by a two thirds majority. That motion will be tabled tomorrow.  The Labour Party alone could block the motion but May has clearly calculated  that they won’t want to be accused of running scared.   The current Tory lead  over Labour stands at 18 points which if that was repeated in the vote would deliver a Tory landslide.

A Million Call for Ban on Trump UK Visit

The petition calling to “Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom” passed a million signatures at 9.54am today (30 January 2017).  It gained a million supporters in less than 24 hours and is the 2nd quickest ever on the UK Government and Petitions website to hit gain a million supporters after the Brexit 2nd referendum petition, which eventually gained over 4 million backers.

A debate in parliament is triggered when any petition reaches 100,000 so a debate in Westminster Hall at least, is already guaranteed.  It will be much more difficult for the government to dismiss this public plea however, compared with Brexit petition. There will be calls from opposition parties for the debate to be held in the House of Commons.

Firstly there’s been no referendum on the Trump visit. More significantly the government will have to weigh up the advantages of a state visit compared to the likelihood that many of those who have put their names to the  petition will make a more public protest if Trump sets foot on British soil. The invitation was intended as a cornerstone of the special relationship. Given Trump’s apparent thin skin, it seems likely that a visit plagued by public protest would do demolish and deals with the US government than to shore them up.

The government is expected to confirm details of the parliamentary debate by tomorrow.

The Secrets of the House of Commons

Tonight at 9.30pm on BBC2 a new television documentary, ‘Inside the Commons’ reveals behind the scenes parts of Parliament never seen by the public.

The Palace of Westminster has 1,000 rooms and three miles of corridors and is often referred to by insiders as Hogwarts.  Seasoned veteran Liberal Democrat Charles Kennedy admits to still getting lost in the building. The four part series goes onto the floor of the Commons chamber, allowing viewers to see exactly what MPs see during debates.

It took six years to persuade the authorities before they agreed to the series.  David Cameron talks about his dread of Prime Minister’s Questions;  “there isn’t a Wednesday that you don’t feel total fear and trepidation about what is about to happen. I think prime ministers have always felt that.”

There was opposition to the documentary from some MPs who have a “general hatred of the media” in the wake of the expenses scandal, and who made it clear they were against the project.

Sir Robert Rogers, the Commons clerk and chief executive (who resigned in 2014) deals with the the need to conserve the building and at the same time bringing its facilities, including communications technology into the 21st Century. “We’re trying to run a modern parliament in a Victorian building.”

The first episode of Inside the Commons is on BBC Two at 9pm on Tuesday 3 February and runs for four weeks.