Labour could call confidence vote as DUP abstain – on Budget votes

foster may
Peeling apart – DUP’s Arlene Foster and Theresa May

The DUP has said it is abstaining on every finance bill vote tonight in order to fire a warning shot across the Tories’ bows that they are close to abandoning the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement that is propping up Theresa May’s minority government.

In other words, on Philip Hammond’s Budget.

On only two previous occasions has a government lost a vote on its Budget – and in each case the government resigned and the Opposition took over. This is a convention rather than a rule and the Tories have shown every willingness to disregard every convention, tradition and practice in order to cling to power – just as they have been more than ready on several occasions to ignore the rule that a minister must resign for misleading the Commons and the country.

In one of the two votes tonight, the Tories won by thirty-one votes – but in the next, the government scraped through by only five votes. More are scheduled for this evening – and there have been whispers that the DUP might go a step further and vote with Labour rather than abstaining.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

Tense times in Parliament again – and Labour still have the option of calling a specific vote of confidence if they sense the chaos and dissent is spreading even further.


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  1. Wonder how much the ransom demand will be this time?
    With hyenas already snapping at her ankles the vultures will want £1.5 bn? £2 bn?

  2. Don’t get your hopes up.
    The DUP are only abstaining when they know the government will win anyway.
    It’s an empty gesture.
    Never trust the DUP – even Mrs May knows that.

  3. So why did Labour lose the Finance (No. 3) Bill Division 260 last night?

    8 out of 10 of the DUP voted with the opposition yet they still came short by 5. With a government working majority of 13, if 8 DUP switch and 2 abstain the opposition should have won by 5 iassuming everyone else supported them. 30 Labour MPs and suspended MPs didn’t vote plus 2 others. I’m sure most of these had permission to pair, however, I calculate a net balance of 10 abstentions after pairing in favour of the Tories.

    Was this not a 3 line whip?

    The DUP seem to have calculated how many of them should vote with Labour for it to be close with a safety margin of 5.

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