The Establishment media, although forced to give a nod to the likelihood of Theresa May’s dismal Brexit ‘deal’ being defeated in Parliament in a couple of weeks, has been resolutely ignoring the even more significant consequences of the DUP’s abandonment of their ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the Tories: the prospect of a vote of no confidence in May’s government succeeding.
A vote that would require only a simple majority in the Commons, not the two thirds usually claimed by the BBC and other ‘mainstream’ platforms.
The intensity of the DUP’s instransigent resistance to May’s excuse for a deal led to it not only abstaining in key Budget votes last week but actively voting against the Tories. So dangerous is this to the government in terms of the ‘confidence’ implications – only twice in UK history has a government been unable to pass its Budget unchanged and in both cases the government fell when it lost the vote – that the Tories immediately surrendered to remaining opposition amendments rather than risk contesting them.
And that resistance was today shown as no less determined – if anything, it has intensified, with DUP leader Arlene Foster, leading MP Nigel Dodds and others all underlining their absolute refusal to accept the deal at the party’s conference in Northern Ireland today:
The DUP’s determination that May will not succeed in her attempt to bind Northern Ireland to a special status with the EU that is separate to that of Britain has been demonstrated to be complete enough for them to risk bringing down the government.
The determination of Tory ‘Brexit ultras’ not to have the UK remain within a UK-wide customs union give Theresa May no alternative option that will be less politically damaging to her and her party.
Both of them combined put the possibility of a successful no-confidence vote firmly on the menu. Labour must not hesitate to take the opportunity.
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