Vulcan Insight

No-Confidence Vote?

9 August 2019

Dominic Cummings, special adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly told colleagues that Johnson could defy a vote of no confidence from the House of Commons by refusing to resign. This comes after Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, signalled he will call a no-confidence vote when Parliament returns in September.

Under the Fixed Terms Parliament Act of 2011, if a government loses a confidence vote in the House of Commons, there are 14 days in which an alternative government must win a fresh confidence vote, or else a general election has to be called. Johnson’s government has a majority of just one and with a band of Conservative rebels determined to stop a no-deal Brexit, a no-confidence vote is unquestionably plausible. The opposition Labour party may try to form a government with support from smaller parties, and there’s even speculation that a cross-party national unity government might be formed which would include rebels from the ruling Conservative Party.

It is highly doubtful that Conservative Party rebels will back Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister but a compromise candidate could be on the cards if the Labour Party does not have the votes. A nightmare scenario would be if the ‘new’ government wins the confidence of Parliament but Johnson refuses to leave, this would trigger a constitutional crisis that could potentially bring the Queen into the fold. The last time a Monarch removed a Prime Minister was in 1834. (King William IV dismissed William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne).

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