Labour MP Dubs Boris Johnson A 'Coward' As Government Blocks No Confidence Vote

Chris Bryant, known for his scathing attacks on the Conservatives, ripped into the prime minister for upending parliamentary procedure.
Chris Bryant attacked Boris Johnson after the government blocked Labour's no confidence vote today
Chris Bryant attacked Boris Johnson after the government blocked Labour's no confidence vote today

Chris Bryant let loose in parliament on Tuesday evening, and dubbed Boris Johnson a “coward” for blocking Labour’s no confidence vote.

The Labour MP, who has form for calling the government out, criticised Downing Street for breaking with convention.

In an unprecedented step, the government refuses to set parliamentary time aside on Wednesday for the motion to be debated, even though the leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer was planning to table the vote.

A parliamentary vote of no confidence means all MPs would vote on whether to keep Johnson in power as interim prime minister.

If the motion was passed by the Commons, Johnson would immediately be kicked out of No.10. Then, in the event that the Tories were unable to form a government under a new leader, a general election would have been held.

Bryant was furious when discussing the government’s latest move to avoid scrutiny in the Commons yesterday.

“By established convention, the government always accedes to the demands of the leader of the opposition in regards to a no confidence motion,” he began.

Bryant then referred to the history of the Commons, and explained why the government’s move was so unprecedented.

Going back to the 18th Century, Bryant said: “There’s been a very long tradition of all sorts of different kinds of votes of no confidence – Baldwin, Melbourne, Wellington, Salisbury, all resigned after an amendments of loyal address – they considered that was a vote of no confidence.”

He claimed confidence motions – whether tabled by the Tories or by Labour – have always been carried out.

Moving onto precedents set during World War 2, Bryant added: “Neville Chamberlain resigned after a motion to adjourn the house, even though he won the vote, because he saw it as a motion of no confidence.”

The Labour MP also pointed out that the government actually overturned the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011 which said there was only one way of having a motion no confidence – but the current government turned it over, in favour of a more “classical” way of booting someone out.

“So it’s preposterous that the government today is trying to say that the motion that has been tabled for tomorrow doesn’t somehow count.

“It’s simple, he’s disgraced, he doesn’t enjoy the confidence of this House and if he simply tries to prevent the house from coming to that decision, it’s because he’s a coward.”

Bryant then sat down to cheers from the opposition benches.

Johnson is expected to face further criticism over his attempts to stay in office until his replacement is found, even after more than 50 members of his government resigned over his premiership last week.


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