Numbers now in place for succesful no-confidence vote – unless LibDems prop up Tories again

DUP switch puts removal of Johnson government within reach – if LibDems and few remaining ‘TIGs’ have backbone and principles
Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s latest parliamentary defeat has opened up the prospect of success for what was always the most likely route to defeating Johnson-Cummings-ERG and their no-deal plans: a no-confidence vote under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act (FTPA) moved by Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Up to a very short time before the vote, parliamentary insiders believed that the Tories’ previous DUP allies, the DUP were going to merely abstain on the ‘Letwin amendment’ to prevent Johnson passing his deal until all the necessary legislative measures were in place.

But the DUP ultimately voted against the government, making sure that the amendment passed – a sign of the intensity of their dissatisfaction and sense of betrayal over Johnson’s proposed arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The DUP’s anger – and readiness to express it by actively voting – against the Tories means that the parliamentary arithmetic has the potential to stack up in a successful no-confidence vote – which would require only a simple majority of one vote.

But only if the LibDems and the few remaining ‘TIG’ MPs that have not yet defected to them are prepared to back up their words about preventing a no-deal or bad-deal Brexit with actual votes in the Commons.

Current MP numbers (Sinn Fein MPs do not participate in Commons business)

Since Boris Johnson’s petulant sacking of twenty-one MPs over an early defeat, the Tories have 288 MPs in the Commons.

The 312 MPs that might under normal circumstances vote down the government in a no-confidence vote stack up as follows:

  • Labour 245
  • SNP 35
  • LibDems 19
  • ex-Labour independents 3
  • TIG 5
  • Plaid 4
  • Green 1

If the ten DUP MPs were to vote against the Tories, the potential total comes to 322 MPs out of the effective total (minus Sinn Fein MPs, who do not participate) of 642.

Even if all the remaining thirty-two independent MPs – ex-Tories plus right-wing former Labour MPs such as Frank Field, Ian Austin and John Woodcock voted with the government, it would give Boris Johnson a maximum of 320.

And in a no-confidence vote under the FTPA, a single vote would be enough.

The LibDems and TIG MPs have made stopping a no-deal Brexit their reason for existing. If they put that claim into action and vote against the government, MPs can bring down Boris Johnson’s government.

If their words are just cynical hot air and they either back Johnson or cravenly abstain, Johnson stays in place to pursue his race to the no-deal cliff edge.

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20 responses to “Numbers now in place for succesful no-confidence vote – unless LibDems prop up Tories again

  1. Johnson has absolutely no intention of racing to a no-deal cliff edge; his posturing is purely to keep his ERG allies under control. Ironically what Johnson has done is move the prospect of a united Ireland that bit closer. This analysis yesterday by the CPI is pretty much to the point:

    Britain and the European Union
    Statement by the Communist Party of Ireland
    19 October 2019
    [This statement was drafted before the chaotic vote in the British Parliament.]

    “The deal now on the table regarding Brexit, agreed between the EU and the British Conservative government, is certainly a reheated May deal but with some important changes from the viewpoint of Irish democracy.
    The working class needs to build its resistance, as the Johnson deal accepts the EU’s treaty-based restrictions on state aid and public procurement. It also attaches a free-trade agreement that is not in the May deal. This new agreement does not rule out a closer relationship with the EU but rather leaves it open to a future government to negotiate that relationship, thereby allowing the Johnson government to align Britain as closely as possible to the EU.
    Certain forces within the working-class movement in Britain—like their counterparts in Ireland—continue to peddle the illusion that workers’ rights and interests are better served under the present EU structures and treaties. Nothing could be further from the truth. What it reflects is their deep pessimism, their lack of belief in the working class and in the capacity of workers to resist.
    Workers have won rights and held those rights only through their own organised struggle. Once again social democracy has fallen in behind the interests of the big monopolies and the strategic interests of imperialism—one more episode in a long history of betrayal of workers.
    This Brexit deal, if accepted, is not the end game; instead the struggle will continue as Britain attempts to flesh out its relationship with the EU. There was never going to be a clean break, as the British ruling class is deeply divided.
    Those who wanted to secure the best deal, to remain as close as possible to the EU, have won out. This was their strategy since the referendum. Johnson may well deliver what May could not while appearing to be in favour of leaving.
    Unionism, a pro-imperialist ideology, has once again found itself on the wrong side of history, having placed its faith in the vain hope that the British ruling class would look after them. The unionist veto in regard to the deal struck between the British government and the EU has been rejected by both. History has once again affirmed that imperialism has no friends, only interests, to advance and protect. Unionism was and is a useful tool to be picked up and discarded when it suits the British.
    Notwithstanding the crowing of Leo Varadkar and the waffling of the Irish establishment media, it has also been demonstrated that the interests of the Irish people were of no concern to either the British or the EU negotiators.
    The DUP are clearly losers in the deal agreed upon, with the proposal of custom regulations between the North of Ireland and Britain. This, and the further development of the all-Ireland economy, could advance the unity of the Irish people. The Irish workers’ movement must now push forward the demand for greater economic and social integration throughout Ireland.
    Agreeing a deal before then would mean that Remain is taken off the table but the future relationship is still open for debate. The terrain of struggle is now opening up. What is missing is a clear anti-imperialist voice.
    Partition has failed the working people of Ireland, and this is becoming clearer to more and more people. We need also to advance a clear political strategy for national unity. Our unity is neither some sort of amalgamation of the two jurisdictions nor an extension of the existing set-up in the south, some hybrid of what workers now live under, north and south. No, what is needed is a new republic, a new constitution, a democracy that heals the wounds of history and places the rights and interests of workers at its very heart.”

    • If what I’ve read is true and that NI demographics will soon favour the non-unionists – then the union might be thought a lost cause even by the “Unionist” Tories.
      If so Ireland will hardly be front and centre in their thinking.
      DUP were useful to the Tories to keep them in power, that’s all.
      Tory attitudes to Scotland and Wales seem to follow the same pattern: “Without them we can keep power in England for ever.
      Or rather in London and the South East – that’s the important bit obviously, being where the money is.
      Fuck the rest of it – I mean, would YOU live in the North if you weren’t its MP?”

    • labrebisgalloise 20/10/2019 at 6:05 pm, – ‘The working class needs to build its resistance, as the Johnson deal accepts the EU’s treaty-based restrictions on state aid and public procurement. It also attaches a free-trade agreement that is not in the May deal. This new agreement does not rule out a closer relationship with the EU but rather leaves it open to a future government to negotiate that relationship, thereby allowing the Johnson government to align Britain as closely as possible to the EU………….
      Certain forces within the working-class movement in Britain—like their counterparts in Ireland—continue to peddle the illusion that workers’ rights and interests are better served under the present EU structures and treaties. Nothing could be further from the truth. What it reflects is their deep pessimism, their lack of belief in the working class and in the capacity of workers to resist.
      Workers have won rights and held those rights only through their own organised struggle. Once again social democracy has fallen in behind the interests of the big monopolies and the strategic interests of imperialism—one more episode in a long history of betrayal of workers.
      Exactly!
      Thank you for this!

      • For clarity – could you define your use of ‘working class’ in the above? What groups does it include/exclude? Are we talking RG or Marx or what?

    • Labrebisgalliose Thankyou for your veiw and the statment from the CPof Ireland..These differing veiws seen here help to show that wherever we come from,and wherever we live,..we are united in a common front against the common enemy of the people..and both Johnson and Varadakar one in Britain and the other in Ireland have the stink of corruption and treachery about them.

  2. Given that Swinson is currently consumed by her self delusional grandeur I don’t share your optimism. She has an awful lot of back-peddling to do.

    I guess we’ll have to trust in our leadership team to steer us through this mess and decide when it is best to call a NCV. In the meantime trying to foster disunity amongst Labour’s leadership team and the moronic questioning of whether JC is capable of running his own office is counter productive.

    • Also – I wouldn’t bank on the DUP. They might be p’d off by Mr Toad, and they aren’t the brightest bulb in the chandelier – but would they go for a no confidence vote against their best bet?

      Meanwhile, the statement of the CP of Ireland is just more wishing on a star whilst ignoring the dangers posed by the minority of head-bangers on both sides of the divide in NI.

      • RH…..wishing on a star?A…red star not your favourite colour no doubt..We have the communist party of Ireland give us a reasoned view…via labrebgalloise and you dismiss it.You cannot hide behind the old veiws forever…..open your mind and learn from other veiws.IT’s actually enlightening if you try it

      • You mean the red star of state authoritarianism? No – it had gone out of fashion as a ‘progressive’ symbol by the 1950s.

  3. Ah yes, the Independent Group for Change. They craved a ‘change’ of our broken political system so much that, at the 1st sign of an upcoming GE, they dived pronto under the Mustard Tories’ rock!

    For those pond dwellers there is only 1 thing more important than Brexshit, and that’s keeping Corbyn’s Labour out of No.10

    JC4PM

  4. For those pond dwellers there is only 1 thing more important than Brexshit, and that’s keeping Corbyn’s Labour out of No.10

    Oh, there’s enough ‘pond dwellers’ on here professing to be ‘social democrats’ , would rather see a toerag Govt within the eu, than a socialist labout Govt out of it. Labour members they claim to be, too.

    It’s not just confined to waldorf & statler….sorry, watson & starmer. The same people bemoaning labour’s polling showings are the same ones quite happily allowing those two rodents and their friends to do as they please without scrutiny or condemnation of their actions.

    In fact they champion their actions as ‘democratic’

    No, seriously…They DO!

    • Toffee you fucking thick as pig shit half wit right wing stooge you are the one that desperate to Brexit you will happily do it with a right wing government in place and screw the consequences.

      I will try again in big letters and small words for the lexiteer crowd.

      YOU CAN HAVE BREXIT OR YOU CAN HAVE A LABOUR GOVERNMENT YOU DONT GET BOTH.

      If Labour usher in Brexit there fucked they lose the majority of the party membership and public this trade in the best case keeps a couple of Brexit seats in the north that would probably vote labour anyway.

      The Tories once Brexit has been done get back the assortment of kippers,racists and ex-cons who once the fight is over will fall back in line.

      Even in the best case we end up with another hung parliament and the yellow Tories propping up the blue ones.

      I honestly give up Skwarky has gone full guido as he sees his fantasy of a true socialist Brexit turning into the mirage it always was. The Wolfe’s have gone full on burn the heretics without looking around the empty position there standing in and the poor north is going to get the blame despite yet more evidence being released that most Labour supporters were remain and the Brexit heartlands were really Cornwall, Devon and other southern areas.

      Honestly between the dive in quality from skwarky and the mouth breathers like toffee and the other non working members of the working class who are happy to fuck the country and my family for there fantasies I shall bid you farewell.

      I only hope that if we do Brexit that the lexiteers are first into the internment camps good night and fuck you all.

      PS. To the few remaining remainers on here seriously why it’s really not worth the effort.

      Oh and yes yes gentler kinda politics yada yada I’m way passed caring about people who are actively trying to destroy my family and in particular my sons future.

      • What? You’re off? Not gonna hang around for jack t to tell you you may well be in need of anger management therapy??

        Oh well, in that case – tatty-bye. 🙂

      • Will, 400 leave seats, 200 remain seats, support Labour policy, not rocket science.
        Referendum first policy for Labour = Electoral suicide.
        Some of us want to take back democratic control from Neo-Liberalism and its EC superstructure. We are ambitious we also want the democratic public control of rail, mail, water, public utilities and why not look at banks and land?
        For 40 years Neo-Liberal capitalism and its Tory/Lib Dem/Right Wing Labour proponents have eroded democracy for the primacy of the market economy whilst the EC has been throwing crumbs to social democrats, reeling them in, hook, line and sinker.
        Need democratic control labour supply, democtatic capital supply, to re-introduce migration adjustment funds for councils, have a right to remain for all current migrants, trade unionise migrant workers to build solidarity.

      • ” we also want … ” … the immiseration of the country, a continuation of the limping economy, a weak hand in replacing current trade arrangements, and a new role as the US poodle in Europe.

  5. Worth a read if you can stand it ,, I don’t do this twitter thing of retwitting or whatever it is but here is a very imo good summary of things to come this week all credit to Lewis Goodall and hope he don’t mind the repeat here

    MV=meaningful vote (ie the substantive vote on the deal)

    WAB= Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the main bit of legislation needed to enable Brexit.

    QS= Queen’s Speech

    Huge problems storing up for the govt this week:

    Plan is to bring MV back tomorrow. Think almost certain not to happen as Speaker will rule out of order as (i) same issue twice (ii) contradicts Letwin amendment which says Brexit related legislation must be agreed first.

    There is a common misconception that the govt pulled the vote on Saturday. They did not. They just didn’t bring the motion as amended to a division. It went through on the nod. The House decided something. I.e. Letwin, that there is no deal until WAB passes. That is big.

    That is why common refrain that Saturday was a “waste of time” or that “they didn’t decide anything” is a nonsense.

    As a result of that decision, the Speaker has even more justification to refuse the deal coming back. The previous MVs were defeated and the House passed nothing. Yesterday the Commons (when govt walked away from motion) effectively unanimously agreed and ‘resolved’ the matter.

    So that means only route to get the deal through is via the WAB. That is due to take place Tuesday. And that is absolutely fraught with danger. The parliamentary manoeuvres we saw on Saturday will look like a walk in the park compared to the WAB.

    It will be amended in every direction. This is why govt wanted to have MV first (same as May’s). Establish you have a majority on the deal and hope momentum of that means that coalition of MPs holds throughout the WAB process.

    There will be lots of attention paid to the sexiest amendment: a second referendum. But that (prob) still doesn’t have enough support. The explosive one is a customs union which probably does and crucially has support from Lab MPs who might back deal but would prefer a CU.

    Expect Labour and others to get behind that amendment because it is in effect a massive wrecking amendment to the government’s deal. They know Johnson cannot accept it, cannot negotiate it and it would tear the Tory Party apart.

    If that happens (and it passes) I don’t see any way out for Johnson, other than accepting the reality of the extension and using it to insist on an election where he campaigns for his deal. Tory Party as the Brexit (with a deal) Party.
    o

    Basically the govt gave up its best chance of accessing the majority that might well now exist for the deal by not pushing the division on Saturday. Virtually everyone I speak to thinks it was a mistake that they didn’t.

    DUP votes now in play also means everything (in terms of amendments) even more fluid. As one MP put it to me: “If it was a matrix of options before it’s now galaxy of variables post Letwin.”

    Other problems abound. There’s no guarantee, for example, that the govt even has the votes for a programme motion which would set out when, how and for how long the WAB would be debated. IE they might not even be able to bring the WAB up, or at least, to do so without condition.

    Entirely possible MPs try and push programme motion for WAB *beyond* this week, so we can’t Brexit by October 31st and def enter extension. So keep eye out for programme motion vote, which is usually a formality but actually a big moment this week. Possibly the biggest.

    AND there’s the Queen’s Speech. Remember that? We were supposed to conclude the votes on it on Monday and Tuesday. But that is all up in the air tomorrow. A vote seems to be planned on Tuesday. Entirely possible govt could lose. First time on a QS since Stanley Baldwin in 1924.

    Normally a govt/PM would resign if that happened. It was traditionally a confidence vote. Thanks to the FTPA it no longer is.

    But big pressure on Corbyn to table a vote of no confidence if govt does lose. If not then, when?

    Seems to me this week (alongside EU’s response on duration of extension) will determine if we have an election this year. If it’s extension to January and becomes clear govt can’t get deal through, election on 5th/12 December most likely.
    30 replies . 149 retweets 606 likes

    So erm yeah, hold onto your hats (if you haven’t lost them already). big week.
    121 replies . 132 retweets 1,265 likes

    MV=meaningful vote (ie the substantive vote on the deal)

    WAB= Withdrawal Agreement Bill, the main bit of legislation needed to enable Brexit.

    QS= Queen’s Speech

  6. Ah! The quality of the debate or the quality of the personal insults?

    • Steve Richards The quality of the debates are good and the insults are usually made with passion and beliefs,and we can either learn from that or walk away.Much can be learnt and opinions changed and thats why the site is veiwed by many mps and even across the world .by ex pats and even Labour international of which I am a member.

  7. Dont drop the ball,
    Clear chance of bringing down Cummings glove puppet deal and getting extension for a GE,
    Dont know how it all pans out today, just hope it’s the end of the phony war
    JC and Labour government for Christmas will be in my letter to Santa tonight

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