A vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson's government could take place after recess. But what does that mean—and who might win it?by James Devey / August 21, 2019 / Leave a comment
What is a vote of no-confidence?
A vote of no-confidence is a motion put forward by the opposition to test the support of the government.
If the government loses one, there are three subsequent possibilities: a new government wins a vote of confidence within 14 days, the previous government wins a vote of confidence within 14 days, or a general election is held.
Why will there be a vote of no confidence?
During Jeremy Corbyn’s speech in Corby this week, he announced that he would table a motion of no-confidence in Boris Johnson’s administration.
By convention, this would take precedence over normal parliamentary business, so when Parliament reconvenes, it will happen if Corbyn goes ahead. The government has no power to stop such a vote taking place.
What are the possible outcomes of this vote?
The first possible outcome is that the Johnson government wins the vote—in this case, the government remains the same.
What happens if the government loses?
The second is that the Johnson government loses the vote, in which case a new government has 14 days to gather enough MPs to win a vote of confidence.
There are two possible plans for this, both of which would involve forming a temporary government to extend Article 50 and then bringing about either a second referendum or general election.
The first would be a Jeremy Corbyn led coalition bringing about a general election, the second would be a ‘government of national unity’, led by Kenneth Clarke or Harriet Harman, that would bring about a second referendum
Finally, if no government can win a vote of confidence within 14 days, a general election must be called, the date of which will be set by the outgoing administration.
Where do parties stand?
Labour supports a motion of no confidence, leading to a Jeremy Corbyn led temporary government. Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP would be willing to work with Corbyn on this, with some negotiations due to their differing Brexit positions.
Jo Swinson has said the Lib Dems would be unwilling to support a Corbyn led temporary government, proposing instead Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman as potential candidates, although her stance on this may well soften.
Plaid Cymru and the Greens would prefer an immediate second…