The party demanded a debate as soon as possible on the bid – but it has no legal force, and Labour’s Wes Streeting warned even a full no confidence motion would ‘galvanise’ the Tories
The Liberal Democrats have tabled a no confidence motion in Boris Johnson as pressure mounts on the Prime Minister to resign over Partygate.
Party leader Ed Davey wants MPs to express no confidence in the Prime Minister because he has “broken Covid lockdown laws” and “misled both Parliament and the public about it”.
But the motion is NOT the same as a full-blown no confidence motion in Her Majesty’s Government – which would be capable of triggering a general election.
Instead it is only an Early Day Motion designed to voice opinions on issues of the day, without a House of Commons debate. The party did the same thing when Boris Johnson took office and it had no consequences.
Labour shadow minister Wes Streeting told Times Radio: “You’ll have no trouble persuading opposition MPs to declare no confidence in the prime minister and vote for it.
“The challenge though, and this is the central issue here, is the only mechanism for removing the Prime Minister ultimately sits in the hands of Conservative MPs.”
Despite this, Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey urged Tory ministers to allow time for a debate in Parliament on the motion “as soon as possible”.
In a letter to Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, he said: “It is completely unacceptable for the Prime Minister to act as if there is one rule for him and another rule for everyone else.
“It is now clear that most people have no confidence in the Prime Minister – including many of your Conservative colleagues in Parliament.
“That is not a sustainable position, especially in the midst of a pandemic, when the trustworthiness of the government is so critical.”
The full text of the motion reads: “That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister because he has broken the covid-19 lockdown laws his Government introduced, misled both Parliament and the public about it, and disastrously undermined public confidence in the midst of a pandemic.”
The PM admitted attending a party for 25 minutes on 20 May 2020. He claimed he thought it was a work meeting. But Sunday Times columnist Dominic Lawson claimed “at least two people had told the PM” that “this was ‘a party’ and should be immediately cancelled.
“I was told that Johnson’s dismissive response was to say they were ‘overreacting’ and to praise [Martin] Reynolds [who sent the email invite] as ‘my loyal Labrador’.”
No10 later apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff leaving dos the night before Prince Philip ’s funeral – while Britain was still in a period of national mourning.
But shadow minister Wes Streeting said Labour would not table a no confidence motion in the government because it would “galvanise” Tory MPs to defend the PM.
The Shadow Health Secretary said it was up to Tory MPs if “they are going to allow a toxic radioactive Prime Minister to contaminate their party.”
Reports suggest as many as 35 have written to the backbench 1922 Committee chairman expressing no confidence in the Prime Minister.
If 54 Tory MPs express no confidence it will trigger a leadership challenge. But he will survive unless more than 180 of his MPs vote against him.
Mr Streeting told Sky News: “I’ll make no bones about it – Boris Johnson carrying on is great for the Labour Party.
“If I’m thinking about this purely through the prism of party politics, my message to Tory MPs is keep him on, knock yourselves out.
“Literally, you’ll be knocked out of the next election.
“But we’re still in the middle of the national crisis here and the Prime Minister’s actions and judgements matter.”
Mr Streeting added: “We could bring forward a motion of no confidence in the government. We’ve been around the blocks with this before. That would galvanise the Conservative Party.”
Told he didn’t know until he tried Mr Streeting replied: “I just don’t think that’s true. I know Tory MPs well enough to know the way they behave.
“They don’t want to bring down the conservative government. I imagine they are concluding in their own minds and judgement and in their own consciences that Boris Johnson is unfit for office.
“The question now is whether they have the courage to act.”
Tory chairman Oliver Dowden today said: “It was completely unacceptable that this happened.”
Amid reports the PM will belatedly ban booze in No10, Mr Dowden told the BBC : “The culture in Downing street does need to be addressed.
“There were failings, we should have done better, much much better, we need to up our game and that has to be addressed.”