Brexit: Minor opposition parties table vote of no confidence in the Government in push for second referendum

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Opposition leaders have tabled a vote of no confidence in the Government (Getty)

Britain’s smaller opposition parties have tabled a vote of no confidence in the Government over its handling of Brexit.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled the vote without the support of Labour.

They made the move after Jeremy Corbyn demanded a confidence vote on the Prime Minister herself, after she confirmed a vote on her Brexit deal would not take place until after Christmas.

The vote called by Mr Corbyn would not bind Mrs May to resign if she lost.

The group of leaders said they made the decision following constant pressure on Mr Corbyn to table a motion of no confidence in the Government under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, which would have the power to bring down the Conservatives.

The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens tabled the vote of no confidence following a meeting on Tuesday evening (PA)

SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP met with Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts and Green MP Caroline Lucas on Tuesday and they took a joint decision to put forward a vote of no confidence in the names of the opposition leaders.

As they are not the official opposition, the Government is under no obligation to debate the motion or give it time in the Commons.

Mr Blackford said: ‘Opposition leaders have taken the decision to table a vote of no confidence in the UK government under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act – something Jeremy Corbyn has failed to do.

‘Labour has failed to hold the UK Government to account over their shambolic Brexit negotiations.

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‘Their motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister on Monday was a gimmick – we attempted to strengthen it with our own amendment and it’s regrettable it was not offered time for debate in Parliament.’

Mr Blackford added: ‘It is clear the Prime Minister’s tactic has been to run down the clock and deprive Parliament of any alternative to her deal.

‘Jeremy Corbyn seems happy to let her – presumably to avoid having to make a decision on a second EU referendum. This is not acceptable and people deserve better.

The move comes after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded a Commons vote on the Prime Minister’s future over the Brexit meaningful vote (Getty)

‘We want this motion to succeed but if it doesn’t, Labour’s only excuse for not backing a second referendum will be removed. We can then all get on with building a majority for that vote.’

Plaid Cymru Westminster Leader Ms Saville Roberts added: ‘Labour may be the ‘official’ opposition, but this is what real opposition looks like.’

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: ‘The SNP seem more interested in Labour’s parliamentary tactics than in the Tory Government’s botched Brexit deal, and they have made it clear they do not expect, or even want, this motion to pass. It suits the SNP to keep the Tories in power, with all the chaos and instability that will bring.

Mrs May managed to cling on to power in a leadership challenge from her own party (Getty)

‘We have said we will not table a motion like this for the purpose of it being defeated, we will do it when we judge it most likely to be successful.

‘MPs on all sides are furious that Theresa May is running scared of bringing her deal to the Commons, and Labour is demanding a vote on this as soon as possible.’

Meanwhile, Theresa May is set to urge leaders from the devolved administrations to ‘pull together’ to back her Brexit agreement as the Government ramps up its no-deal preparations.

The Prime Minister is set to call on the First Ministers of Scotland and Wales and representatives of the Northern Ireland Civil Service to listen to businesses and get behind her Withdrawal Agreement in a Downing Street meeting on Wednesday.

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