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Just because TMay found it easy getting MPs to the vote for GE2017 doesn’t mean that it will be the same for Johnson

August 27th, 2019

There is a widespread assumption, based on what happened with Theresa May two and a half years ago, that prime ministers still have the power to the name election date in spite of the FTPA. This is because it is said that the main opposition party will always have to back holding an election or else it will look weak.

But given today’s “anti-no deal” agreement between the opposition parties I wonder if that still holds particularly if Johnson/Cummings want to do it before October 31st with the object of taking away MPs chance to scupper the government’s plans.

The FTPA requires a motion to be supported by two thirds of the entire complement of MPs, 433+, in order for an election to be called. A maneuver like the one being speculated on would be seen as being counter to what the opposition MPs want and my guess is that all the opposition parties, including LAB, would not back it.

Even if Corbyn was inclined to support it, after all he keeps on calling for a general election,how many of his MPs would give it their backing? Stopping a no deal Brexit is the imperative of the day not using up the short time available on an election campaign.

I could see all the other opposition parties not supporting the move as well as a fair number of LAB MPs.

Remember in this vote it doesn’t matter for if MPs abstain because that will effectively be a vote against an early election.

This could lead Johnson to try the route of having a vote of no confidence in his government which Tory MPs back. Sure that might get round the the act but it would look contrived and that Tory MPs had voted not to have confidence in their own government would be a key campaigning point.

Mike Smithson