PM loses two more votes in parliament and starts election campaign in Yorkshire
As is now customary in the world of UK politics, Westminster was at the heart of more drama yesterday, with the new PM Boris Johnson being summarily defeated at the dispatch box.
Johnson has not won a single vote as yet in his inflated role, but then he has culled his own party by 21, by removing the Whip to 21 Tory MPs, and saw another colleague cross the floor and join the Liberal Party.
Last night in the House of Commons, parliamentarians faced two dilemmas. The first was to vote on Hilary Benn’s Bill which would outlaw the government from executing a no deal Brexit and the second was a motion by the government itself to enable a general election under the provisions of the Fixed Term Parliament Act.
The Battle over no deal had become little more than a skirmish after MPs voted on Tuesday that the motion should be heard and therefore it was no surprise last night, when the government not only lost again, but were trounced by a further two ballots.
Benn’s bill passed through the Commons by 329 to 300, shifting the responsibility for its progression into law to the Lords.
However, it was the general election vote that had seemed more controversial at the outset that caught the imagination of many commentators last night. Could Corbyn really galvanise the Opposition to vote against a general election in the current climate, given the vitriolic clamours for one in the past three years?
In order to call a general election in this manner, Johnson by law had to secure the vote of two-thirds of MPs, as it was the Ayes secured 298 and the Nos 56, with abstentions making up the rest.
Of course, this is all an elaborate game of political chess, with Brexit at its core.
Having prorogued parliament, time is of the essence in Westminster, which means in order to pass the no deal legislation and prevent Boris from crashing out of the EU, it is vital that he is kept in Downing Street so he can not side-step the issue or simply run down the clock.
Inevitably Johnson bandied about accusations of cowardice and hypocrisy at Corbyn, but with the assistance of the House of Lords and the cohesion of the opposition it seems his hands are tied… for now.
Today the PM will travel to Yorkshire, in what many see as the beginning of his election campaign, to poke fun at Corbyn for refusing a general election and thwarting Brexit.
The turns in the Autumn parliamentary path are fraught with more twists and turns and if last night was anything to go by, it looks likely that the banter will get very personal . . . and quite nasty.
Overall Majority in Next UK General Election
|No Overall Majority||8/13|
|Liberal Democrat Majority||40/1|
|The Brexit Party||100/1|