Corbyn to table motion of no confidence in Theresa May

Corbyn to table motion of no confidence in Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn has demanded a Commons vote on Theresa May’s future after she confirmed a showdown on her Brexit plan would not take place before Christmas.

The Labour leader tabled a long-threatened motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister after she set out the timetable for MPs to pass judgment on her deal with Brussels.

Raising a point of order in the Commons, he said: "It's very clear that it's bad, unacceptable that we should be waiting almost a month before we have a meaningful vote on the crucial issue facing the future of this country.

"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.

"So, as the only way I can think of ensuring a vote takes place this week, I'm about to table a motion which says the following: 'That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister due to her failure to allow the House of Commons to have a meaningful vote straight away on the Withdrawal Agreement and framework for future relationships between the UK and European Union.'

"That will be tabled immediately, Mr Speaker."

The effect of Mr Corbyn's motion in Mrs May is disputed, with Labour believing it would be a confidence motion under the procedures of the House.

It will be for the Government to determine whether to schedule time for debate on Mr Corbyn's motion, according to the House of Commons authorities.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said Mr Corbyn's point of order required no response from him but was on the record.

Mrs May left the chamber after the Labour leader raised the motion.

Mr Bercow later confirmed he would be "happy to chair debates over Christmas" if MPs gather enough support to pass a motion to restart the Brexit debate.

He was replying to veteran former minister Frank Field (Birkenhead), who asked if there was "a way of moving to a vote" on Mrs May's agreement after the Government postponed the debate last week.

Mr Bercow said it was "always possible to table a motion in this House", but added he was neither "exhorting" nor "discouraging" the Independent MP to do so.

He said: "My role is to serve this House. I would be perfectly happy to chair debates over the Christmas period. I would be perfectly happy to come back on January 2 and sit in this chair.

"Millions of people are going to be working on January 2, we could do that, but it's not for me to say when the House should sit when it should debate and when it should vote."

He added: "I am here to serve and if the House decided that it wanted to proceed at a different rate, a faster pace, then it would be my responsibility to be here and I would gladly accept that responsibility."

"If any more evidence was needed of why we face this grave situation, the Prime Minister demonstrated it at last week's summit.

"There were some warm words drafted and the Prime Minister even managed to negotiate those away to be replaced by words about preparing for no deal."

Mr Corbyn said the "cold reality" was Mrs May achieved "nothing" last week after returning to Brussels to seek further assurances over the Irish border backstop.

He went on: "The deal is unchanged and not going to change. The House must get on with the vote and move on to consider the realistic alternatives."

Mr Corbyn accused Mrs May of cynically running down the clock on the March 29 Brexit deadline.

Mr Corbyn demanded Mrs May answer three questions as he quizzed her over the latest Brexit negotiations.

He said: "One, does her deal still have the confidence of the Cabinet?

"Two, is Cabinet collective responsibility still in operation?

"Three, does it remain Government policy to avoid a no-deal outcome?"

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