Johnson ignores no confidence?

The prime minister might stay on without the confidence of the Commons

New Statesman

Does Boris Johnson have to resign as Prime Minister if he loses a confidence vote?

If the government loses a confidence vote, does the prime minister have to resign?

The answer is complicated. There's nothing written in British law that compels a prime minister to resign after an election defeat - technically, it's the role of the monarch to remove a prime minister who can no longer command a majority in the House of Commons.

But a British monarch hasn't used this power since 1834 - and hasn't been personally involved in a change of government since 1894, when Queen Victoria opted to send for Archibald Rosebery, a Liberal peer on the party's right, rather than William Harcourt, a Liberal MP on the party's left.

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Could Boris Johnson ignore a vote of no confidence?

By Joe Harker

Boris Johnson is facing the prospect of losing a motion of no confidence within his first 100 days as prime minister, though he might just ignore it.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his desire to call a motion in the House of Commons once MPs have returned from summer recess in September.

A motion is not expected to be called unless they expect to win it, having secured assurances from certain Tory MPs that they would vote against their own government to prevent it from pushing through a no deal Brexit.

The Claim:

The Times reports that if Johnson is defeated in a vote of no confidence he will simply refuse to resign.

Senior adviser to the prime minister Dominic Cummings has spread the word that Johnson will stay in office even if losing the confidence of the Commons means he is obliged to resign.

Even in the face of a "government of national unity" that might unite to depose him the word from Downing Street is that Johnson will not go, having no legal requirement to do so.

He would then call a "people vs politicians" general election shortly afterwards, styling himself as a man of the people attempting to stop the will of the people be frustrated by the political elite.

Johnson could also attempt to use his executive powers to delay any general election until after the Brexit deadline of October 31, essentially letting the clock run down to get the UK out of the EU rather than it being a decision of the parliament Brexiteers professed would be sovereign.

The Counter Claim:

However, there is a 14 day period after a government has lost the confidence of the Commons where another government can attempt to form and gain the confidence of the house.

The sitting government can attempt to regain confidence, but the suggestion that several parties could come together with a number of rebellious Tory MPs to form a government is persistent.

It is difficult to believe the plan for deposing Johnson hasn't come this far without some assurances of what comes next. Surely the parties teaming up to take down the prime minister have some idea for what comes afterwards?

The Fixed Term Parliaments Act introduced in 2010 is the all important piece of legislation on this subject. Johnson does not have to resign even if he loses the confidence of the Commons but this would draw the Queen into politics as she could be called on to dismiss the prime minister.

No British monarch has used this power since the 19th century, making it an extraordinary precedent to set in modern politics.

The Facts:

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act once government loses a no confidence motion there is a 14 day period where it can attempt to regain the confidence of the Commons or another party can attempt to gain that confidence, thus becoming the new government.

A new prime minister must go to the Queen and be asked to form a government on her behalf before they can go through another confidence motion to determine whether the Commons has selected new leadership.

Johnson would be obliged to resign in this scenario, but not legally required to do so. British politics leans heavily on obligations and expected behaviour which has taken a battering in recent years as Theresa May clung to power through a number of incidents that would previously have toppled a prime minister.

Once a precedent has been broken it's hard to walk everyone back to where they were before. Johnson could simply refuse to resign and dare his opponents to go to the Queen and ask her to remove him, thus making them the ones to bring Her Majesty into the political situation.

If no government forms after 14 days an election must be held, with the prime minister able to recommend a suitable day. Johnson and Cummings have indicated they would attempt to hold the vote after October 31.

Attempts to form a government of national unity could be difficult. Ostensibly a collection of pro-Remain MPs, it is hard to see how most of them could accept Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as their prime minister. As leader of the largest opposition party he would be the natural choice but his stance on the EU makes him an unpalatable choice.

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The Times

Boris Johnson to defy any vote of no confidence

Boris Johnson would refuse to resign even after losing a confidence vote so he could force through a no-deal Brexit on October 31, under plans being considered by Downing Street.

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister's most senior aide, told colleagues last week that Mr Johnson would not quit if Tory Remainers voted with Labour to bring down the government.

The Times has been told that Mr Johnson could stay on as prime minister even if Tory MPs were able to form a "government of national unity" opposed to a no-deal Brexit.

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