By GRAHAME ANDERSON
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn submitted a motion of no-confidence in Theresa May on Monday. The move was a swift response following the PMS address to the commons both setting a date in January for the meaningful vote and dismissing a second referendum on Brexit.
Asian Sunday understands In a political counter offensive Mrs May has rejected time for a subsequent debate and vote on the issue, which she is technically allowed to do. It means despite the bluster any result would be non-binding. What Labour would need to do next is submit a motion of no-confidence in the Government, as under the Fixed Term Parliament Act Mrs May could not intervene. The question is, does Labour believe it can win that vote, or has Jeremy Corbyn made a badly timed error of judgement? If they failed to unseat the PM of course, it means Mrs May will have cleared yet another massive hurdle as we head toward March 29th next year and Brexit Day.
Some political pundits are already accusing the Labour leader of not being able to make his mind up as the Christmas recess fast approaches. The PM had earlier told the house: “Another vote would cause “irreparable damage” to the integrity of British politics.” She also said work on the Brexit deal would commence again in the week beginning January 7, with the meaningful vote taking place the following week. She emphasised her Government had prepared for a no-deal Brexit and “tomorrow her cabinet will discuss the next stage of the plan. All of this after Mrs May had fended off criticism from former Prime Minister Tony Blair over the weekend, calling his suggestion of having a second referendum a ‘disgrace.’ She added fuel to the spat by adding: “Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver.
“Another vote which would likely leave us no further forward than the last.
A briefing made to Westminster media by an official spokesperson intimated there were “no plans” to stage an indicative vote on a range of Brexit options. It was also revealed talks by officials were continuing “at all levels” to seek further clarification and assurances on the terms of the existing deal – and particularly the nature of the proposed backstop – as agreed at the European Council last week. But tellingly they added: “The Prime Minister is very clear that we will not be holding a second referendum.”
Mr Corbyn said: “The Prime Minister has obdurately refused to ensure a vote took place on the date she agreed, she refuses to allow a vote to take place this week and is now, I assume, thinking the vote will be on January 14 – almost a month away. This is unacceptable in any way whatsoever.”
Ironically Labour has been insisting Mrs May puts her Brexit deal to a vote in the Commons before Parliament rises for Christmas on Thursday. At the same time it has also confirmed it will not table a motion of no confidence in the Government until the meaningful vote has been held. But here’s the rub – if Mr Corbyn were to succeed in getting a simple majority care of help from all parties in the house and unseat Mrs May – there would be a 14 day scramble to form a new Government. Why won’t he? Because Mrs May would almost certainly win at this point, and he only has one shot of course.
Labour cannot fully put their stamp on a second referendum unless they’ve failed to force a general election as was confirmed at their conference back in the autumn. Even then, Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t seem to want a second referendum at all. The upshot is, though Monday was another bad day for the PM – Her Majesty’s opposition have come out of it looking thoroughly indecisive, muddled and just as divided as the Tories. It may be the pantomime season, but any Christmas goodwill from our politicians won’t be outwardly forthcoming as they sort final business before the holiday. Mind you – a week is a long time in politics.