Johnson’s majority shattered, Lab could form govt. If MPs really want to stop no-deal, time to revisit Corbyn’s offer

Johnson’s obliteration of Commons majority has opened possibility that Corbyn could approach Queen without even needed a no-confidence vote. MPs who want to stop Johnson’s no-deal Brexit need to take up Corbyn’s interim-PM offer – and more
Jeremy Corbyn

Boris Johnson’s humiliating Commons defeat and subsequent implosion leading to the sacking of twenty-one MPs from the Tory whip – along with the defection of Philip Lee to the LibDems – has turned Johnson’s wafer-thin majority of a single MP (even with DUP support) into a huge minority of forty-three.

Johnson has lost his mandate to govern, as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell signalled in a tweet:

Labour sources have pointed out that with no majority and opposition parties now having a potential majority, Jeremy Corbyn could in principle approach the Queen and ask to form a government – with no need for a vote of no confidence.

While the SNP has indicated it would work with Corbyn to prevent a no-deal Brexit, the LibDems have flip-flopped, saying they would do anything to stop no-deal while simultaneously saying they won’t work with Corbyn.

If they are serious about avoiding Johnson’s no-deal ‘cliff edge’ on 31 October, the LibDems and every other MP opposed to a no-deal Brexit need to revisit Corbyn’s offer to act as interim Prime Minister.

But not merely in order to agree an extension with the EU and then call a general election.

“With Johnson having destroyed his own majority and potentially his party, that is the most democratic and sane option available.”

Corbyn should negotiate a Labour Brexit deal with the EU – whose officials have already described Corbyn’s vision of Brexit as ‘heavenly’ – and then call a general election, with Labour campaigning on the basis of leaving the EU on the terms of its deal.

With Johnson having destroyed his own majority and potentially his party, that is the most democratic and sane option available.

And if centrist MPs are really confident that their remain option will be the most attractive to voters, what do they need to fear?

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

53 responses to “Johnson’s majority shattered, Lab could form govt. If MPs really want to stop no-deal, time to revisit Corbyn’s offer

  1. Below is an extract from an interview with a barrister from the Foundry Chambers that was broadcast on BBC R5L on the 11/08.

    What would happen if, as has been mooted, Boris Johnson suspends parliament to enable the Brexit process to take place?

    He simply cannot do that as a matter of law. The Supreme Court has already held that the Government alone cannot bring the country out of the EU, it has to be by an Act of Parliament. So, any attempt by the Government to do that would not be legally effective, they just do not have the power.

    So, without a law passed by Parliament, and without the European Union having the jurisdiction to throw the United Kingdom out of the Union, the UK will just be left in a state of limbo?

    Yes, we would simply remain a Member State. It is even arguable that the Article 50 notice issued would lapse and cease to be of effect as it has to be interpreted as being subject to the condition that it would be made effective by an Act of Parliament down the line; it was a conditional notice and if these conditions are not met it would just lapse and the UK would continue to retain its EU membership.

    https://www.foundrychambers.com/on-sunday-11-august-2019-rose-slowe-was-interviewed-by-richard-foster-on-bbc-radio-5-about-article-50-and-the-legality-of-a-no-deal-brexit/

    • But hasn’t every ‘expert’ on TV been saying since March that if nothing intervenes we drop out with no deal by default on 31/10?

      • Yes my understanding was that there already is the requisite Act of Parliament – passed by all these folk who are now voting to keep us in the irremediably neoliberal EU (and 85 per cent of whom were elected on manifestos promising to respect the Referendum result).

      • David McNiven 04/09/2019 at 3:51 am

        I appreciate that it is a controversial point of view but given its source I thought highlighting it was worthwhile.

      • Steve, I agree it was worthwhile to link to it of course.
        Google search result, BBC 2 hrs ago “The default position is the UK will leave the EU on 31 October at 23:00 GMT.”
        So I’m still none the wiser.

        I find the EU’s silence on these issues unfortunate.
        Unwillingness to interfere in UK politics is laudable but this is some important shit – too important to let lies and misunderstandings win arguments.

  2. It’s not time to revisit Corbyn’s offer, it’s time to withdraw art50 and ditch this whole sorry right wing mess.

    • Gotta respect democracy. I voted Remain. But I think I’d vote for Labour Brexit. Simply cancelling seems unprincipled and hands perpetual legitimacy to far right. Labour Brexit draws a line under it. We can move closer or further away in the future. FWIW

      • ‘Democracy’ isn’t defined by a one-off majoritarian vote that resulted in a *minority* supporting the outcome, no matter what the circumstances.

        If it did, we wouldn’t be having this debate about the Tories hanging onto power.

        I’m amazed at the number who support the Tories with this argument.

      • I agree Brad Bell, I voted remain but the country is divided 50/50, so a Labour Brexit would be my choice, with a deal involving A new customs union and a new trade/movement deal. I don’t know if that would be enough to appease everyone and I don’t know how that could be achieved, but all we have is compromise.

    • There’s nothing right-wing about Corbyn’s offer, though, and it would remove the danger of our “base” feeling betrayed.

    • Brad Bell, if you think the referendum was democratic then watch The Great Hack to see how it was bought by right wing £millions.

      • I’m afraid there’s a lot of suckers around – meat for Johnnings & Co.

        I was interested in the vox pops from the NE on 5 Live today : how representative, or simply selected is debatable, but there are plenty of knuckle-dragging duggies around who are conned by the Tories and their media bog-papers. There’s no percentage in Labour pretending to pander to such.

  3. No constitution…..on the hoof convention,Gentlmans convention……No bill of rights,and to Cap it all the archaic royal prerogative to give it the correct name.I am sure most people will say never again to dogs dinner of a false constitutionWe need a Labour government to ensure

  4. If that was indeed Dominic Cummings I saw late last night outside Portcullis House he looked rather “tired and emotional “.

    • Oh, for Chrissake, give up on the ‘Peeple Swill’ fascist lie. It’s not big and it’s not clever. It was 37% of a cut-down version of ‘the people’ … containing a large proportion who didn’t have any idea about what they were voting for.

      … which is why fascists and sundry other populists like this sort of thing – it’s how big con jobs work alongside a compliant media.

      I know you’re fond of the idea of swapping the EU for Trump’s and the ERG’s neoliberal, shitfest but many, including most of the Labour Party and its leader, aren’t.

      • ‘It was 37% of a cut-down version of ‘the people’ …’

        It was ‘cut down’ for BOTH sides; and remain didn’t get 37. Don’t vote = Don’t count EITHER WAY.

        Hard spaghetti. Find a living horse to flog.

      • Toffee – It’s the raddled referendum that’s the dead horse – passed over by intelligence and analysis.

        Boris Johnson is the one currently rattling on (PMQs) about the ‘Peeple Swill’. The other thing he’s doing is studiously avoiding answering *any* questions on Brexit consequences from Corbyn – whilst wittering on with that broken record.

        That should send out a message to any Labour Party member hanging on to the tatters of Tory policy (if crass stupidity and foot shooting can be called ‘policy’)..

    • Not easy to spot straight away Brendan O’Neill’s carefully disguised right-wing populism. It’s difficult, though, to accept that you Danny can’t see through O’Neill’s smoke-screen. Disappointing – have you got the wrong membership card?

    • “It is essential to understand that when they talk about ‘blocking No Deal’, they mean ‘blocking Brexit’”.

      No, Brendan, that’s what YOU mean!

      Danny, you DO realise Spiked is funded in part by the Charles Koch Foundation, don’t you?!

      Enough said.

    • “Spiked” Online always raises the question of what was slipped into the booze. Could have been Cummings’s problem last night, too.

  5. Skwawkbox – your enthusiasm is running ahead of reality. There is no way that this single vote on its own provides a platform for a change of government. It wouldn’t happen, and Corbyn isn’t stupid enough to try it..

    In terms of facts – i’m afraid that your bald general assertion about “… Johnson’s wafer-thin majority of a single MP (even with DUP support) into a huge minority of forty-three).” is premature and delusional.

    There really is no point in aping tabloid media methods.

    • PS – Just noticed Kuenssberg’s tweet that I have no cause to doubt that :
      “The now former Tory rebels are planning to stay sitting in their naughty corner in the Commons on the Conservative benches”

      Tories don’t just give up on their own self-interest.

  6. It’s worth a look at the headlines in today’s Propaganda Press.

    I did a quick trawl through the Mail, Sun, Express and Telegraph to see how they would present the blatant humiliation of a lying buffoon to their gullible public. Danny would be proud.

    No surprises – summed up by the Torygraoh’s headline :

    “Corbyn to block snap election as he’s accused of leading ‘junta’ to stop Brexit”

    … but the sheer bent deviousness on display is a telling illustration of how impoverished is the information reaching swathes of people – and why the referendum was such an exercise in uninformed blather.

    It also illustrates what Labour is up against.

    • Indeed – Corbyn was focused and kept hitting the target. Only the brainless would fail to see that Mr Toad had no answers to extremely pertinent questions. His only tactic was to go off on a predictable tangent of avoidance.

      Notable that even the kind-to-the Tories commentariat are saying that Johnson was shit.

      We can see Toad shaping his election strategy – which is based on the cod-Dunkirk metaphor of ‘surrendering’ to the EU.

      The key aim of Labour needs to be sticking to the strategy of a public vote to clear Brexit out of the way before a GE.

  7. How do the numbers look:

    Based on the assumption that the “Block No-Deal” bill passes by the same margin: 328:301, then:
    Scenario-1
    The PM moves a motion for early GE, where he will need a 2/3 majority. Can he get the 2/3 of 650 = 434? That means he will need 301 (the original number that opposed the bill) + 133 to make it over the 434 hurdle. Can he find an additional 133 MPs? JC’s pre-condition for supporting the motion is passage of ‘Block No Deal’ act. So it’s very unlikely the PM will find the numbers. So he will lose the Early GE motion.
    Scenario-2
    VONC Motion and vote of confidence on ‘Unity Government’. That one needs a simple majority, 650/2 + 1 = 326. Currently TW can boast of 121 PLP members (the number that signed the CW letter). The PM will still have his 301 loyalists. JC will have 126 in his corner. So the Ken Clark/John Major/Tom Watson-led ‘Unity Government’ group needs 326 to succeed. Obviously BJ’s 301 will say No to new government. And JC’s 126 will say No. That will be 427 against KC/JM/TW so-called ‘unity government’.
    Scenario-3
    VONC Motion and vote of confidence on ‘JC-led Government’
    Again BJ’s 301 will say No. ‘Unity Government’ will say No. Only JC’s 126 will vote Yes. So they will fall far short of the 326.
    Scenario-4
    The House resolves to have early GE.
    This time, PLP will be obliged to vote for early GE, because the ‘Block No Deal’ act will be in place – JC’s precondition for voting for early GE. But this time, the ‘Unity Government’ alliance will split. We expect TW’s 121 to rebel, since ‘turkeys do not vote for Christmas’, because most of them are facing de-selections. So that leaves JC’s 126 + BJ’s 301. The 12 expelled Tory rebels might vote for early GE to spite BJ hoping he will lose the GE. Some of the Lib-Dems and other opposition parties might also vote for GE hoping to increase their share of seats. So we are looking at 126 + 301 + 12 + ? = 439 + ?, which is more than the 434 required.

    It appears the scenario most likely to succeed is Scenario-4

    • You may be right – but the current prime aim is to get another referendum. I think it will be difficult, but resolving that before a GE would be highly desirable in order that the road is clear to focus on domestic policies rather than it contaminating the whole GE debate.

      • ‘…but the current prime aim is to get another referendum.’

        For us to get another ref before GE, we need either Scenario-2 or -3. And it appears the numbers don’t support either.

      • You have a point, Stewart – but it’s worth a shot, given the scene at the moment.

  8. Bercow smacking little boy Javid’s wrists for distorting the procedure for statements.

    Oh dear – the dross that passes as ‘government’ is having a bad hair day.

    Delightful!

  9. WORST.
    SPEECH.
    EVER.
    ANYWHERE.
    What a rambling, repetitive, off-topic abortion of a chancellor’s statement.
    What an overpromoted, incompetent dickhead. Incapable even of changing tack to comply with the speaker’s instructions.

    Still… he’s clearly little threat to Johnson so a perfect choice for chancellor from his point of view.

    • Bercow’s going to be unpopular with the Tories today. Admonished both Boris and Javid (twice and quite correctly) and made the most perfunctory defence of the no clapping in the house rule while Labour, in end of term mode, clapped anyway as Boris got skewered by…(Gasp!) a Sikh! That’ll rankle!

  10. Has Javid EVER made a speech where he didn’t harp on about his humble beginnings in Bristol/poor boy made good?
    What a tedious little man he is.

    • She was on the WatO at lunchtime, making the same case very coherently (What’s she doing on Murdoch’s The Times?).

      I thought that the most telling point she made was that Johnnings’s strategy was wrong-footed by Corbyn not falling for the ploy of an immediate election.

      I get more and more convinced that trying for a pre-election vote on Brexit is the best option available for Labour : it cuts the ground from under the populist Tory facade, and clears away the debris to focus on domestic policy.

      A difficult ask – but worth going for – defensible, in line with Labour policy – and it might give the other opposition parties an incentive to go for it.

  11. Is anybody still maintaining that Brexit was a ‘revolt’ against the ‘elite’ after the pictures of Greasy Mogg sprawling across the front bench as if he owned the place?

  12. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/sep/04/brexit-crisis-boris-johnson-mps-bill-blocking-no-deal-eu-no-deal-parliament-politics-live
    MPs agree amendment to Benn bill to put cross-party version of May’s deal back on table
    MPs started voting on Stephen Kinnock’s amendment 6. But then, a few minutes into voting, Lindsay Hoyle, announced that the division had been called off because the amendment had been passed – because MPs opposed to it did not put up tellers.

    Here is the explanation of what the Kinnock amendment does.

    This amendment would set out as the purpose of seeking an extension under article 50(3) TEU the passage of a withdrawal agreement bill based on the outcome of the inter-party talks which concluded in May 2019 – see NC1 for contents of the Bill and Amendment XX for text of the request letter to the European Council.

    This means that, if the PM needs to request an article 50 extension (because he has not negotiated a new deal, and MPs have not voted to approve a no-deal Brexit), then getting an extension to pass a version of the Theresa May deal becomes government policy.

    Effectively, that means that any Brexit delay would not be a blind delay; it would be a delay to enable a version of the Theresa May going through.

    It is not clear whether this has passed by accident – or as a result of some cunning plot.

  13. Totally distracted by the Del Boy Trotter soundalike on the Tory benches who spoke a few minutes ago.

  14. I thought this was really good.

    George Monbiot·TEDSummit 2019
    The new political story that could change everything

    To get out of the mess we’re in, we need a new story that explains the present and guides the future, says author George Monbiot. Drawing on findings from psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology, he offers a new vision for society built around our fundamental capacity for altruism and cooperation. This contagiously optimistic talk will make you rethink the possibilities for our shared future
    https://www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_the_new_political_story_that_could_change_everything/details?language=en#t-8208

    • “I thought this was really good.”
      Too right 🙂
      I’ve always been baffled that our ancestors were dumb enough to let competition win out over cooperation once farming replaced hunting and gathering and there was a stable food supply.
      We teach our infants to share and share alike, then we send them to school where they learn to compete in this dog-eat-dog system we’ve allowed the Tories to con us is the best – the only – ‘realistic’ and ‘efficient’ and ‘sensible’ and ‘economically viable’ way to run a society.
      Humanity can build Utopia but it’ll take dedication to maintain funding for education when AI does the work – if we don’t some charismatic aspiring dictator will one day convince the gullible to try competition again.

      I’ve tried parables and I’ve tried Socratic debate to try to convince people how incredibly inefficient competition is, but belief in the swindle runs deep.

      • Indeed. We know that in time of trouble human instinct is to help and co-operate, not fuck each other over.

        I’ve always thought that most of the world’s problems could be solved if only parents would teach their kids to share.

Leave a Reply