A Labour Brexit spokeswoman was forced to backtrack on a threat to try and oust Theresa May – just minutes after making it.
In a u-turn even quicker than the prime minister’s decision to delay the crunch Commons vote on Brexit, Jenny Chapman backed away from her suggestion Labour could table a motion of no confidence in May by Christmas.
The Shadow Brexit Minister told LBC radio’s Eddie Mair: “It’s going to happen, it’s on its way. I think the vote of confidence will probably come before Santa does.”
Chapman went on: “There will be a vote of no confidence. In a situation like this... any responsible opposition would have no option but to put a vote of no confidence before the House.”
She added: “We understand that it’s an incredibly difficult thing to pull off, which is why we are not rushing at it today.
“It will happen soon, because you can’t have any credibility and leave this for a great length of time. But it is about maximising your prospect of success.”
But just half an hour later she admitted she “might have got a bit carried away”.
In a tweet, she said: “Might have got a bit carried away trying to make a joke about Christmas! Labour is prepared to bring a no confidence vote and will do so at the best opportunity to topple this rotten Government.”
It came with Labour under huge pressure from other opposition parties to table a vote of no confidence.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford earlier told Jeremy Corbyn to act now or the Scottish party would.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell hit back, saying the SNP wants to “lose a vote of no confidence, and then avoid a general election, because they know we’re breathing down their necks in Scotland”.