The government, deprived of its cobbled-together majority in the Commons by the decision of the DUP to abandon its ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement with May’s shambolic Tories, have collapsed in complete surrender tonight and accepted no fewer than five Labour and SNP amendments to its Budget finance bill. The amendments include the SNP’s new clause 14, Labour’s amendment 13 and new clause 5, centering on tax avoidance.
Last night’s DUP decision to vote against the Tories, rather than abstaining as they had announced, took both the government and the opposition by surprise, but with Labour gearing up for a three-line whip on tonight’s votes and the DUP set to repeat their vote, May has taken the coward’s route – again – of deciding not to contest the amendment votes.
In doing so, May has avoided a constitutional crisis in losing a finance bill vote by the skin of her teeth – but at a cost of making herself and her party a laughing stock. Only twice in history has a UK government been defeated on Budget votes and in both cases the government resigned.
The UK already had a ‘lame duck’ government – but not the duck has neutered itself into the bargain.
If anyone ever doubted the case for a General Election, tonight settled that debate.
Theresa May could not get her own Budget through without accepting a total of five amendments – not because she wanted to but because she and her party are too weak in the House of Commons to carry the votes.
Labour ‘centrists’, who only days ago were dismissing the case for a general election, look as politically bankrupt and irrelevant as their critics have accused them of being.
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