New referendum FAR less likely than GE

Claims a general election must be discounted and new referendum more likely are way off target


Claims by advocates of a new referendum that a general election is unlikely – and therefore all attention must be on ‘resisting Brexit’ and pushing for a new public vote – are as inaccurate as they are predictable. Even a cursory look at the parliamentary landscape shows why.

No majority

There is no majority in Parliament, nor anything approaching one, for a new referendum, ‘confirmatory vote’ or any of the other titles allocated to the idea.

Public vote motions have been put forward four times in the Commons – one three of those occasions, Labour’s leadership imposed a ‘three-line whip’ on MPs to support it – the strongest parliamentary discipline available – in line with the party’s conference policy.

On all four occasions the motions were convincingly defeated.

Most Tory MPs are either pro-Brexit or else know that any perceived attempt to prevent it would be the kiss of death to their careers, as most Tory members are strong ‘leavers’.

In addition, a clear majority of Labour’s MPs represent seats that voted leave in 2016. Many of them have already refused to support a new vote, which their constituents would consider an attempt to disenfranchise and ignore them.

That situation will not change until there is a general election.

Killing time

The next Tory leader and unelected Prime Minister will be a ‘Brexit ultra’, either Boris Johnson or someone even more determined to take the UK out of the EU.

All that leader will need to do in order to secure a no-deal Brexit is nothing – if no deal is reached and no extension requested and granted, the UK will leave the EU without a deal at the end of 31 October.

Even if a majority among MPs were suddenly to materialise in favour of a new referendum, under no imaginable circumstances will a Tory leader, elected by the party’s members on a promise of pushing through Brexit, ever allow the option of one to come to a vote.

Remember, all s/he needs to do is nothing – and Theresa May already broke the taboo against governments simply running away and hiding from votes they don’t think they can win.

The new PM would not even have to do nothing for very long. With summer recess approaching and then the suspension of parliamentary activity for the autumn conference season, much of the time between now and Halloween is already killed and a new PM could easily avoid special measures to cancel either.


Pro-remain commentators and activists are singing from the same hymn sheet as Tony Blair, who on Tuesday told Sky News that Tories would receive such a punishment from the electorate that they would never call a general election and that therefore a new referendum is the only chance of change. But a new referendum is far more remote, as shown above.

There is no parliamentary support for a new referendum and no way to be sure of even forcing a vote.

Many analysts believe a new PM will call a general election in the hope of changing the parliamentary arithmetic. But even if a new Tory PM refused to do so in hope of gaining a mandate for a hard Brexit, there is a way for the matter to be taken out of her/his hands: the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA).

The FTPA includes a provision for a vote of no confidence in the government – and if it passes, a new general election is triggered just two weeks later, if no new ‘confidence’ government can be formed. For all the reasons outlined above, no such new government could be formed as it would face exactly the same situation.

Such a no-confidence motion also requires no large Commons majority – under the FTPA it only has to pass by half plus one of MPs who participate in the vote.

If a new PM attempts to kill time up to the no-deal cliff edge, there is no way for MPs to force any referendum motion to a vote. But – if the leader of the opposition, a certain Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP, tables a motion of no confidence under the FTPA, the Speaker must make time for it and the motion must be voted on.

(3) An early parliamentary general election is also to take place if—

(a) the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (4), and

(b) the period of 14 days after the day on which that motion is passed ends without the House passing a motion in the form set out in subsection (5).

(4) The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) is—

That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”

The FTPA’s wording concerning a no-confidence motion

Corbyn has already tabled one such motion earlier this year. It was defeated. But faced with the no-deal cliff edge and an intransigent PM, enough Tory MPs may well support the no-confidence motion, or at least abstain, to allow it to pass. If Labour MPs and those of other parties vote for the motion, it can pass.


A successful motion of no confidence cannot be guaranteed – but putting one to MPs for a vote can.

There is no such equivalent route to guarantee putting a binding referendum motion to a parliamentary vote – and little time to pass the required legislation to start organising one before Halloween anyway.

Contrary to the narrative – or propaganda – being pushed by the ‘stop-Brexiters’ and their media helpers, a general election is far more likely than a new referendum.

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  1. Sounds feasible. Because if we did have a referendum think result would be the same. Then what? Remainers want in leavers out with or without a deal they just want out. Jeremy Corbyn is right. We need a general election to sort this mess out.

  2. We need someone to try start putting the people first for a change, and do something for the country instead of themselves. They are playing games of who can be boss while the country is running its self into the ground with everything collapsing around us.

  3. The only way England and Wales will achieve a Labour Government is quite simply To Do The Following. Dismiss from the Party the names that follow: Blair Brown Darling McNicol Harris Campbell* Mandelson* Watson Phillips Hodge Beckett Starmer Thornberry McDonnell Mason Murray Smith Eagles Cooper Harman Benn Kinnock et al. A Purge such as this would no doubt bring Comparisons with Stalin so what! the MSM BBC ITV And SKY have already used this Comparison to Describe Jeremy Corbyn And all who support The Great Man. Contest the Trumped Up Accusations Made Against The Labour Party by Self Serving Supporters Of Netanyahu And The Israeli Jew Murder Regime carry out our own internal investigation into the behaviour and the Real motive behind these Scurrilous attacks which in my opinion are instigated by the Jewish Mossad under direct orders from Netanyahu. They in turn flick the switch and bring in the Blairite Faction the Enemy within Watson Hodge Phillips Beckett To Name But a Few add to this The Enemy Of The Working People The BBC ITV SKY NEWS and The MSM And we have a very Toxic Poisonous Mix. Jeremy Corbyn And The Labour Party Grassroots Are being unfairly castigated by people who purport to be Labour they are but what they omit to add is the NEW before Labour is it not Time We the Lifeblood Of The Movement said to the Jews who by Lying and the MPs and Lords and Dames Of The Movement Who are Selling Out the Working People For Israeli Jew BRIBES now Watson et al you can sue if you wish but remember this my QC will demand every transaction ever made into your account same goes for the rest of You Unbearable LIARS. Get these Wasters out of Jeremy Corbyn’ Labour Movement NOW ENOUGH IS DEFINITELY ENOUGH Investigate Them All NOW just as they have instigated Investigations Against a Man they are Not Fit to share a Room With They are all Bullies and Thugs. Act Now Jeremy or they will Prevail.

      1. DId anyone see the absolute state of the docker on ch4 news last night; proclaiming it’s ‘outrage’ over campbell?

        Didn’t appear arsed at all, like the rest of us. Be a different story when it’s her though.

    1. Pat McQueenie, you forgot to mention bringing back hanging and building concentration camps or reeducation centres. What what planet are you from…. ???

    2. A mad faux Lefty rant from an obvious shit-stirring Tory Troll. A bit blatant though to be successful . Is this a rant that has been inserted so the Tory press can pick it up to use it to misrepresent “a Left viewpoint on a Left blog” ? Makes the endless rants of our resident Remainer Trolls look almost coherent ! Almost. The crude anti-Semitic stuff was surely a tad overdone to be credible ?

  4. Even if there was betrayal layered upon betrayal and a so-called Alastair Campbell-fellating People’s Vote, people are so pissed off with the political vermin representing them, #Brexit would prevail.

    1. I’d put money on 52/48 or 48/52 … but will that stop the ultras of either side? Of course not.
      If they’d supported Labour’s policy, at least we could have had a not-quite so awful Brexit. Now, a Catastrophic No Deal Brexit is a dead cert.
      And with Johnson at the helm – a fairly likely scenario – Europe probably won’t even be talking to us once he’s finished.
      Thanks, guys.

      1. “at least we could have had a not-quite so awful Brexit.”

        Remember the last outcome from the adoption of a ‘not quite so awful’ Tory policy when Ed Miliband and Balls went along with the basic austerity rationale?

    2. A point totally lost on the three remainer wum’s that pester people of the opposite (correct) view almost to the point of abuse.

      They think history won’t (or doesn’t) repeat.

      1. The Toffee (597) 29/05/2019 at 9:12 am

        A point totally lost on the three remainer wum’s that pester people of the opposite (correct) view almost to the point of abuse.

        This is disingenuous coming from someone like yourself.

    3. I would have to agree with you there. The PV people are run by London centric media that only think what’s best for them. The rest of us know when we are being conned. If you really want to see a Labour Government the only way is a General Election. As I said before you can’t do anything without power. The PV people want that power as they’ve always had to stay within an elite. If you want real change you support a General Election if want to be subservient for the rest of your life you vote People’s Vote.

  5. I agree that a GE is more likely because it’s the only way to change the composition of HoC. But the hard remainers don’t want a GE. They want a referendum because it is the only possible way to keep the UK in the EU. However, what happens if (as I think likely) Leave would win again?

    Varoufakis and Swedish politician on Today programme agreed that if the UK did just drop out of the EU on the 31st, the EU would immediately start negotiations to put in place that which would prevent damage to the EU economy ie a new negotiation with the UK govt.. Furthermore, they agreed that privately, many heads of govt. believe that the EU over-reached itself by insisting on the backstop (in my opinion, there was much more than just the backstop that was impossible about May’s WA).

    No doubt, reaching some sort of mutually acceptable accomodation with the EU is desirable and it would be a bit messy but we are clearly being given the frighteners about a no deal. As Larry Elliott of the Guardian says, it wouldn’t be as bad as 2008 banking crisis. What matters are the policies put in place to address job losses etc.. It is the Tories that we need to oppose not a ‘no deal’.

  6. As usual Skwawky comes out against the only way forward, which is to go back to the people with a determined and properly argued case for Remain, not like last time, which under Alan Johnson was a shambles.

    Anyone who thinks we can go into a GE before we sought Brexit is making a big mistake, especially if we produce a manifesto advocating any sought of Brexit.

    We cannot continue this policy of trying to please everyone. By doing that we prevent ourselves from putting the true case for Remain to the people for fear of upsetting the fanatical Brexiters, i.e. the far right such as the despicable racist Farage, who has used this issue to split the country by trying to snare the ‘working classes’ to his cause. Those in the exploitative classes have recognised his tactics and have jumped on the bandwagon to finance and support him.

    1. Sorry, you’re talking nonsense. PVers won’t see the obvious. We know you want to split the vote by offering 3 options in a new ref: Remain, Leave no deal, leave deal. This would give a one third majority vote to Remain.
      The only second vote on the subject would have to mirror the first…..and the result would still be a split.
      PV is a scam assisted by people who want to break the Labour party.

      1. “PV is a scam assisted by people who want to break the Labour party.”

        That statement is what is technically known as ‘utter bollocks’.

        ‘Breaking’ the Labour Party is being done totally efficiently by the current policy with its resultant crashing vote-share. It’s only the even bigger crash of the Tories that distracts from the blunt fact.

      2. You ignored the point. A second vote-splitting referendum won’t be allowed to have 3 options, therefore it has to be a binary choice again, which would serve no purpose…..other than breaking Labour.

      3. lundiel 29/05/2019 at 9:46 am

        “We know you want to split the vote by offering 3 options in a new ref: Remain, Leave no deal, leave deal. This would give a one third majority vote to Remain.”

        If we have a CV with 3 options (as you describe above) using an STV system and
        the outcome was (as you describe) 66% for Remain then can you explain why you think this result wouldn’t reflect the will of the people.

      4. “If we have a CV with 3 options… and … the outcome was… 66% for Remain”
        Pretty big IF.
        The tories won’t countenance ‘remain’ on any 3rd ref. Not in a million years. And a 66% for remain? Two chances of that; fat and slim.
        Though I have no doubt that you can produce 493 iffy surveys that are 100% sure of a 66%+ remain victory. Because that’s the kind of Walter Mitty guy that you are. The fact that 94% of polls are utterly wrong (even those precious ‘academic research’ surveys), and always are, shouldn’t – and won’t – slow you down at all.

      5. heenan73 29/05/2019 at 10:33 am · ·

        “If we have a CV with 3 options… and … the outcome was… 66% for Remain”

        But that isn’t what I actually said is it?

        The scenario I gave was the one provided by lundiel not me. Why did you edit my comment to hide this fact.

    2. You’re right. A GE might be a desirable outcome – but (a) it’s not in Labour’s gift and (b) the Tories will do everything to avoid it.

      But, as said, it solves nothing, because Labour then has to decide on a credible policy on Brexit with which to fight the election. Otherwise, t’s just kicking the can stuff.

      The current policy pleases no-one – and we’ve had two demonstrations of the effect on votes. Given that the local and EU elections are not the same as a GE, the basic effects will still be there, and leakage to the LibDems, Plaid, SNP and Greens will be fatal to achieving a working majority – especially with the massive writing on the wall in Scotland.

      There has to be a serious attempt at regaining credibility. Bullshitting the current position of non-existent ‘compromise’ has already failed, and promising ‘Leave’ without another poll will shed votes like leaves in a windy autumn. That is as near a ‘compromise’ position that you can get. All who say it’s not a ‘solution’ are entirely right; it’s simply the only way forward in this Tory dead end.

      1. PV / CV / 3rd Ref is also not in labour’s gift, but the ultras can’t get their heads around that. Much too complicated.

  7. ” we are clearly being given the frighteners about a no deal … it wouldn’t be as bad as 2008 banking crisis”

    Well – that’s a great revised endorsement of the sunny uplands of leaving the EU – ‘not as bad as’ the worst economic crisis since the 1920s!

    Meanwhile, Labour increases public expenditure whilst dealing with a financial crisis, the depredations of austerity and a structurally weak economy? Dream on.

    Whistling in the dark as policy, I think is the description.

    The EU might be a bit kind towards a country in generally damaging suicidal meltdown – but that won’t change the fundamentals.

    1. “Well – that’s a great revised endorsement of the sunny uplands of leaving the EU – ‘not as bad as’ the worst economic crisis since the 1920s!”

      I’d be willing to bet that crisis didn’t affect you beyond limiting your pay rise to less than 10%. Nothing ever affects people like you and SteveH with his holiday home in the Caribbean.
      The point is, you and other Ultras like you have been predicting doomsday in a negotiation between two parties who both have a lot to lose in a no deal situation. Therefore, logic demands they cushion the hit in a no deal Brexit. You of course, hate that and wriggle and twist to deny any future other than total devastation.

      1. I note the pattern – when bereft of argument, always go for fantasy personalisation. Silly.

        Actually – I probably will survive on my (actually below-average) income, if with restrictions … and, by definition, I won’t be around long enough to see the full fat idiocy visited on the younger generations.

        But those already in trouble will cop more.

        “you have been predicting doomsday”

        No – just major dislocation and continuing decline. Don’t get hysterical. And we’ve not been far wrong, given that the main impact hasn’t started yet. 3 years and f. all to show, whilst – totally predictably – Labour loses credibility and the agenda.

        No – we’re not the ‘ultras’ – just the savvy and sensible. Look for bug-eyes on the Farage/ERG side.

      2. Linda, you and others keep refering to those with whom you disagree as the ‘ultras’. Don’t you realise that this is classic ‘projection’?

      3. lundiel 29/05/2019 at 10:04 am · · Reply →

        I’d be willing to bet that crisis didn’t affect you beyond limiting your pay rise to less than 10%. Nothing ever affects people like you and SteveH with his holiday home in the Caribbean.

        I don’t deny that I am likely to be better insulated from any crisis but does that mean I shouldn’t fight for those who have been less fortunate than we have.

        It’s only a small point but we don’t consider ourselves to be the owners of a holiday. We are lucky enough as a family to own two homes who’s locations reflect our family’s heritage. We are not ex-pats in either location, we all hold two passports, pay all our taxes and contribute significantly to the economies and communities of both countries and we have family and friends in both locations. This may be your definition of a ‘holiday home’ but it isn’t ours.

      4. OK, fair enough. I’m not here to attack you personally, I do however think from reading your comments, you live a very different life to many working class Labour supporters and because of that your economic outlook is also different to ours.
        I don’t see the liberal left as supportive of the working class or Socialism in any way. Brexit was the straw that broke the camel’s back of Labour’s “broad church”.
        Your support for the conference motion you re-posted below says more about you than inherited homes does.

      5. lundiel 29/05/2019 at 2:16 pm · ·

        “Your support for the conference motion you re-posted below says more about you than inherited homes does.”

        I’m quite content to be associated with the motion I re-posted. I don’t recall ever saying anything to indicate we were the beneficiaries of inherited wealth or property.

        Just like many others I’ve had my share of deprivation and poverty. Which is why we try our best to treat others fairly and do our best to give others a leg up where we can. For instance when we are spending our days in the sun (amongst other stuff) I spend 1 day a week teaching in our local secondary school and 2 evenings a week taking adult education classes, both FOC. I’m not professing to be an angel or to be particularly virtuous but we do what we can.

      6. lundiel 29/05/2019 at 2:18 pm · ·
        Jack T. It’s not projection. I’m willing to compromise, ultra’s aren’t.

        It is difficult to see how one can compromise on a binary question. We are either in or out of the EU there is no compromise between the two positions. The majority of the party’s membership and voters want to remain within the EU. Any half arsed to be half in half out pretending to be a ‘compromise’ is nothing of the sort, it is the opposite of what the membership want which is to remain in the EU.

        The use of the word ‘ultra’ as a descriptor for those that want to remain and reform (the status quo) is a ‘novel’ concept.

    1. Alistair Campbell’s Patented Self-Purgative – I do hope the party does its duty to these people.
      i love that his latest is a paper tiger: “I’m not a LibDem person” – no-one said you were, dear boy. But you sure ain’t Labour, and haven’t been for a goodly while.

  8. This demonstrates the opposite expressed so far in the national medias struggle – The wealthy right wing don’t want Labour in or anyone else. If all you do is masturbate your own greed whilst allowing others homelessness, starvation and death.Then your already questionable popularity will be as low as 3 – 8% . The next thing UN-democratic shoveled shit like Tories and Lib Dems will do is declare a dictatorship. Get on with it. We’ve never had a real democracy in this country I can recall.

    1. Well, obviously ‘revoke’ would be the sensible and brave truth-telling option, given the shambles of the past three years going nowhere, and, in any case, having an imaginary destination not on any map.

      But I don’t see that happening.

      So the next question is how to get out of the fit of national epilepsy that is Brexit.

      I admit that the drift to this point makes it difficult – thus the further vote as the *only* possibility that holds a slim chance of preventing the incipient victory of this extreme right policy.

      The alternative is so barmy, I’m willing to give it a chance.

    2. Does your carer take sugar? 29/05/2019 at 11:23 am

      I have published a similar proposed conference motion in full on this site a couple of times before. Here it is again for those who may have missed it.

      The ‘Stop Brexit, Transform Britain’

      The real division in society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few. Brexit is poisoning politics and stopping us from addressing the issues that matter to people.

      We need a general election to deliver a radical Labour government.

      If the UK leaves the EU, Brexit does not end. Instead, we face years of negotiations and trade deals that deregulate our economy in the interests of the few, making it much harder to deliver our radical manifesto.

      Brexit is a Tory project, and Labour opposes it. It would mean a victory for the nationalist right, and is a threat to our rights, jobs, NHS, public services and the fight against climate change.

      We will answer insecurity and exploitation with hope and solidarity to bring the country together. We will rebuild communities with investment, expand common ownership, boost wages and union rights, and challenge the narratives of the nationalist right. Free movement is a workers’ right which we will defend.

      The Leave vote is more than three years old, and there is no clear democratic mandate for any Brexit settlement. The democratic imperative now is for the people to have the final say. Labour will back Remain in that public vote.

      Labour is an internationalist party, with a duty to challenge the far right. We will campaign for a Europe-wide Green New Deal, levelling up of wages, democratising European institutions, ending Fortress Europe, and an international strategy to tax the rich and corporations.

      I support this motion.

      1. You still peddling that load of woolly, liberal guff? I already told you it’s impossible to deconstruct Fortress Europe, all they can do is relax controls every time ageing populations require resources (people) to give the impression of economic growth.
        Brexit isn’t a “Tory project” or “a right wing project” it’s the result of 45 years of membership that has seen over half the population of the UK stagnate, they are no richer than they were 45 years ago in real terms. And to say “Free movement is a workers right” is the biggest lie ever told. Free movement is a guarantor of low wage economies, it has nothing to do with Socialist thinking, it’s a real “right wing project” that goes hand in hand with outsourcing, competition, the gig economy…it’s supply side neoliberalism.
        Don’t you think we can’t see past the warm woolly phrases to expose the hard edged neoliberalism underneath? Next you’ll be extolling us to sign up for some carbon capture scam under the banner of saving the world. People like you make me very sad.

      2. lundiel 29/05/2019 at 2:05 pm

        Don’t blame me just because your views are only shared by a small proportion of the Labour Party.

      3. Yes indeed , lundiel, this “workers’ right ” of unfettered free movement of People” that the middle classes profess to see as sacrosanct , is an update of that old saying that “capitalist freedom is the freedom for the poor to sleep under bridges” .It is actually the “freedom” for workers globally to become rootless global migrant workers , with no settled home or family life – endlessly touring the globe at the whim of global capitalist market demand for the cheapest labour power available. Millions of workers from the Indian sub continent, and from the recent EU entrant countries now do live that rootless existence. And if a “third World” state does train up skilled workers, like doctors, the richer Western states simply pinch them – without prior training costs. At the current rate of Exodus, Bulgaria will be empty in another 20 years or so !

        The “freedom of movement” mantra so beloved of the Left liberals, and the now equally middle class so-called “revolutionary Left” , is a feel good liberal euphemism for unlimited labour supply – actually achieved pretty much worldwide today – the supply side holy grail for capitalism for 200 years or so – that when combined with oppressive anti trades union laws, keeps wages suppressed ever closer to that old Marxist prediction, ie, the minimum cost of reproduction (just above starvation level, and no more. If you think this is an exaggeration , Chinese Big Business has just built huge assembly plants on virgin sites in Ethiopia , paying the mainly female , ex peasant, workers the equivalent of £5 PER MONTH ! Apparently wages in China are too expensive for entire sections of Chinese capitalism – in competition with Vietnam and Indonesia.

        The individual nation state (hopefully in partnership with many Left-led nation states) remains, for the foreseeable future, the only potential defensive socioeconomic entity, which, with an interventionist radical Left government in charge , has any chance of withstanding the ever greater competitive mass impoverishing dynamic of globalised capitalism in a post 2008 Crash global profits crisis era. Planning national Labour Supply is just as important as controlling capital flows and protecting key industries and planning balanced sectoral and regional economic growth – on a Green high tech agenda.

  9. I’m more likely to piss on the moon that Boris Johnson to be prime minister. He had 0 chance back in 2016 and that’s why he pulled out. He doesn’t have any more chances now, given his track record in the cabinet. The only thing he’s got in his favour is the media, who like a good freak show, and therefore is profile is artificially inflated by his media presence.

    1. I tend to agree with you – if I made bets, it would be against Johnson.

      Although recent events appear to contradict it, in the end, the Tories, like most lower forms of life, tend to have a great instinct for survival.

      .. and of course .. they have a massive MSM propaganda machine to work with. (Look at the number of people conned into backing Brexit).

      It’s too easy to see May in the light of subsequent events, but back when she was first elected, she was a canny choice from a Tory point of view. Of course, the next ‘canny choice’ could self-destruct equally spectacularly – but I certainly wouldn’t bet on Johnson, despite the wishes of the raddled grass roots.

      I’m not sure who to predict this time round (I did reckon on May last time) – but there might be a surprise.

      .. or not 🙂

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