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Why the Tory plotters wanting to oust May need have no worries about letting Corbyn in

November 13th, 2017

A new CON leader WILL NOT mean an early general election

With the Sunday newspaper reports that the CON MPs plotting an early retirement for Mrs May being just 8 MPs short of the 48 required for a confidence vote we could be very close to a formal move against Mrs May.

One of the big arguments that May backers and the Tory whips are apparently making to MPs is that if she goes early then it heightens the risk of an early general election in which Jeremy Corbyn could be Prime Minister.

The same theme is taken up by the New Statesman George Eaton in an article in which he sets out how the fear of letting Corbyn in is being used.

… , having lost their majority earlier this year, the Conservatives are loath to do anything that could prompt a second general election. Labour would begin as favourites and Tory MPs sincerely fear the consequences of a Corbyn victory.

Faced with a choice between bad and worse, most Tory MPs believe that May’s survival represents the former. “

This, of course, is completely bogus and overlooks the legal mechanics of how general elections are now called. No longer does a Prime Minister have it in her or his gift to trot along to the Palace to call a general election.

For while the Fixed-Term Parliament Act, enacted as part of the coalition deal, is still on the statute book it is very hard to envisage the circumstances in which Mr. Corbyn enters Number 10 in the foreseeable future.

The FTPA lays down just two ways that an election can be called early: by two thirds of all MPs voting for one as happened last April or by a vote of no confidence in the government which is not rescinded within two weeks. Given what happened to Tories in June it is hard to see any TMay successor being foolhardy enough to risk either route.

In any case the next Tory leader is likely to have been elected in a members’ ballot which would give him or her more legitimacy. It was the avoidance of such a vote last year which was one of the factors that drove Mrs May to use the FTPA process in April.

There is no other legal mechanism for an early election to be called which is something which many close observers and active politicians don’t seem to have fathomed.

Mike Smithson