With the Conservative Government in free fall after the disastrous negotiations with the EU have come to a head, Jeremy Corbyn finally decided to take action. An open goal was there as any hope of a renegotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement was dead and Prime Minister May weakened. He lined up his shot, stepped forward and kicked the ball over the cross bar and into the crowd.
His supporters have cheered his effort wholeheartedly, claiming he’s on the verge of bringing down the government and forcing a general election. More rational minds will be wondering what game Corbyn thinks he’s playing. Perhaps he’s turned up to the football match with his mind on the more sedate game of Cricket.
Chaos, disorder, confusion. Bywords for Labour
The run up to the ball wasn’t the best of starts. With Theresa May due to make a statement in Parliament following her disastrous visit to the EU, the Labour press machine swung into action. Briefings started circulating that if May didn’t announce the new date of the “meaningful vote” on her deal, Corbyn would table a motion of no-confidence. The only problem was Corbyn had seen the statement and knew a date would be announced.
With the hollow threat wasted, events moved quickly. By the early evening, Jeremy Corbyn was back at the dispatch box. This time his target was far more precise: he was gunning for Theresa May.
The crowds cheered. A week before, May had seen nearly 120 of her own party vote against her at an internal no-confidence vote. Goading and chanting from onlookers started. Surely these MPs would be forced to vote with Corbyn or look ridiculous in front of their own constituents? Surely the DUP won’t support a Conservative Government, regardless of the “Supply and Confidence” agreement that keeps May in power.
Only there’s a problem.
A no-confidence vote in May has no authority. It doesn’t compel her to resign or for a general election to be called. Nor does it even have to take place, as she has made clear by refusing to grant it time in Parliament. If forced to hold it, she could ignore its outcome, or instruct her MPs not to attend the debate, robbing it of legitimacy. It’s a tactic used on a number of occasions during her premiership. Even if she lost, nothing would happen unless she decided to make it happen. Her own MPs can’t hold a confidence vote in her for another 12 months. The entire party would rally behind a “victim” of Labour Party “stunt”.
Bring back an opposition
For want of a better word, she’s safe.
Trying to give the motion some teeth, the Liberal Democrats stepped in and tabled an amendment that would make it a no-confidence vote in the Government as a whole. It’s been rejected by Corbyn and so his empty threat will remain as ineffective as every other the Official Opposition has made.
Over the past 2 years the cult of Corbyn has robbed the UK of a strong, robust, social-liberal opposition. The latest antics suggest even as the country charges headlong into the abyss, that isn’t likely to change.