Today’s events – and Queen’s inevitable compliance – mean 5 December likeliest date for new general election
The Queen has granted Boris Johnson’s request to prorogue Parliament, preventing MPs’ wish to pass legislation to block his attempts to take the UK out of the EU with no Brexit deal.
This alternative plan – pushed by MPs desperate to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Number 10 – makes a no-confidence vote the only option for those who wish to remove the unelected, anti-democratic PM.
However, the likely no-confidence vote is not one that will be tabled by Labour.
Tory MPs who cannot bring themselves to support a Labour no-confidence motion now have an alternative, because they now have a government-tabled opportunity.
In bringing a Queen’s Speech to Parliament – the mechanism he has exploited to force the suspension of Parliament – Johnson has in effect tabled his own vote of no confidence. A defeated Queen’s Speech is the equivalent of a no-confidence vote.
This presents squeamish Tory MPs, who would quail at supporting a Labour motion against a Tory PM, with the best landscape to vote against their government.
The success of Johnson’s request means that the most likely date for a parliamentary no-confidence vote is 17 October, the date he has set for his Queen’s Speech.
Given the two-week process legislated for attempts to win a confidence vote in an alternative government, this would result in the calling of a general election on 31 October – the day the UK is set to leave the EU – and the mandatory minimum period for a general election campaign would mean ballots would be cast less than three weeks before Christmas, on Thurs 5 December.
Activists need to start preparing now – and local Labour parties need to push their regional offices hard to ensure trigger ballots and candidate selections are arranged without delay. The general election campaign is likely to cost Labour around £14 million, so party supporters will be asked to dig deep.
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