Earlier today, Labour’s excellent Barry Gardiner appeared on the BBC’s Marr show to discuss not only Brexit but the Theresa May’s likely contempt of Parliament for withholding its legal advice on May’s Brexit deal – after the government chose not even to contest a parliamentary vote to force it to release the information.
And he exposed Marr following a line on the removal of May’s lame-duck government that the BBC has, until now, been routinely – and completely misleadingly – pushing, when he intervened to correct Marr in mid-flow:
Two weeks ago, the SKWAWKBOX highlighted the provisions of the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA) – what Marr called the ‘Quinquennial Act‘. Although the mainstream media have, for the most part, continued to claim that the FTPA requires a two-thirds majority of all MPs for an early general election to be triggered, that is only the first part of the Act’s provisions.
In the next section, it requires only a simple majority of those voting to remove the government via a vote of no confidence – the usual ‘fifty percent plus one’ – putting the removal of the government within reach in a hung Parliament where the DUP has abandoned its ‘confidence and supply’ pact with the Tories.
Marr pushed the ‘needs two-thirds’ line – but when Gardiner corrected him, he immediately responded,
There’s the alternative way. I know.
But he had just made a point of telling Gardiner and the programme’s viewers that:
for that to happen two thirds of MPs have to vote for it to happen.
Barry Gardiner’s entirely correct intervention shut down the misleading line and put the truth on view.
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