Meanwhile, in the UK

Just so we all know it isn't just the US suffering a crisis of leadership...

To expand on Doug Mataconis’ post from earlier today, the latest drama in UK politics is the possibility of a no confidence vote in Boris Johnson.

Under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act of 2011, a no confidence vote allows a 14 day window for an alternative government to be formed.

The BBC explains: Boris Johnson no-confidence vote could be next week, says SNP MP Stewart Hosie.

A motion of no confidence in Parliament allows MPs to hold a vote on whether they want the government to continue.

If the government loses the vote, MPs have 14 days to express their support for an alternative government.

If an alternative government cannot command a majority in the House of Commons in that time, a general election could be held.

The trick is constructing a coalition that would be viable to form a new government.

On the one hand, the Conservative government is a minority government and given Johnson’s actions, to include booting 21 MPs from the party, there is precious little chance of a new Conservative government forming (and, indeed, Johnson would welcome new elections as quickly as possible).

On the other, while the theoretical pathway to a coalition government of Labour, the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democratic Party, and independents is within the realm of the mathematically possible, the probability of getting them all to agree to a Corbyn premiership appears low.

I can only see a no confidence motion passing (or even being offered) if the opposition can amass a working coalition.

Here’s the current breakdown of seats in the House of Commons:

Scottish National Party35
Liberal Democrat18
Democratic Unionist Party10
Sinn Féin7
The Independent Group for Change5
Plaid Cymru4
Green Party1
Total number of seats650
Working Government Majority *0

* The Conservative Party has formed a minority government and has signed a “confidence and supply” agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party.

FILED UNDER: Europe, World Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    At least now the Brits can’t point and laugh at us. Well actually they can, but now we have reason to point and laugh back.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    To give you an idea of how poisonous Jeremy Corbyn is among the Brits, the Tories are STILL 12 points ahead of Labour….

  3. grumpy realist says:

    Good article analysing what the political situation is for Boris and the Tory Party.

    (Hint: when journalists are comparing your activities to Chernobyl, you’ve hit bottom.)

  4. JohnSF says:

    Yes, well, but at least England can still beat the USA in the Rugby World Cup.
    45-7, yasss!
    (Cue puzzled Americans: “Rugby? Wassat?”)

  5. JohnSF says:

    Seriously: if Corbyn can only be persuaded (or strong-armed by his MPs?) to stand aside for e.g. Margaret Beckett an emergency government is there for the taking.
    At this point, I’d accept a constrained Corbyn as temporary PM (and he really should realise that being PM could backfire on him), but there are numerous Conservative rebels and LibDems who hate the idea (with good reason).

    If only the silly old fool could discard his ambitions wrapped up as principles and stand aside…

  6. Corbyn, Johnson, and Trump all have underscored the importance of the leadership variable in politics far more than I am usually analytically comfortable with.

  7. Lounsbury says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes. But the Hard Left that back Corbyn are all dreaming of Capitalism showing its contradictions and them being swept into power, Bolshy style.

    A modestly competent Labour leader would be crushing the Conservative Party

  8. @Lounsbury: The thing that gets me is that in such a circumstance, rank-and-file members of the Labour Party ought to be seeking better leadership, and yet they are not.

  9. JohnSF says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    At least it gives one some ammunition against vulgar marxists.

    OTOH, said marxists might come back with: why are some sections of financialised capital and rent seeking etc. so inclined to support Brexity/Trumpism?
    And why have what seemed to be strong “informal” constraints on behaviour proved to be nothing of the sort when assailed?
    But against that, if Brexit/Trumpism represent the option of “capitalism in crisis” (oh, puh-lease!) why are the legal fall backs of system regulation kicking in against them?

    (Though as for Corbynism, heaven knows how anyone explains it.)

  10. JohnSF says:

    @grumpy realist:
    My favourite article right now, though more invective than analysis (but hell, I’m in an invectivey sort of mood): Marina Hyde in The Guardian on the unwisdom of playing with populist fire

    Do you think the mob is going to come upon an MP and go, “Wait, wait – this is so-and-so. He voted for Meaningful Votes 2 and 3, so we should, you know, definitely not put our pitchforks up his arse”? Eventually, you’re going to get a pitchfork up your arse either way.

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @JohnSF: Yah, Marina is good. My other must-read person in the Guardian is John Crace.

    Damn, one of The Four Pot Plants should be nominated as PM. I suggest Pot Plant Three.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    To give you an idea of how poisonous Jeremy Corbyn is among the Brits, the Tories are STILL 12 points ahead of Labour….

    You would think that such numbers would cause the Labour Party to get rid of Corbyn…it’s as if they enjoy being in the minority…

  13. de stijl says:

    Rugby in the US exists, but most usually as unsanctioned clubs made up of university kids desirous of killing what few brain cells they still possess by drinking enormous amounts of alcohol and banging heads in a scrum.

    Rugby dudes that I’ve met are really nice and super friendly and completely bonkers. They are unique dudes.

    England beating the US in rugby is like the US beating England at American football. Don’t get too excited.

  14. JohnSF says:

    @de stijl:
    Yes, it’s a nice score but doesn’t mean much in the terms of the top sides.
    Still, if US rugby recruited from the players that go to American Football, they’d be formidable indeed.
    As long as could be persuaded not to stop the game every couple of minutes.

    Little known fact: in the 1924 Olympics, the last time full team rugby was played, the USA sent a squad of mostly Californian college players, who included IIRC players who normally played American Football.
    They won the gold medal, beating France!
    (OTOH the only other teams in the contest were France and Romania.)

    Always amazes me that Australia are a top flight Rugby Union side, despite it being less popular then Aussie Rules football, Rugby League, cricket, soccer and basketball!

  15. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Book review in the NYT today talks about 2 recent Hitler biographies saying that there is reason to reevaluate the ‘great man’ theory of history.

  16. JohnMcC says:

    @de stijl: In ancient times I was in a university-sponsored club that played lacrosse. The rugby guys had by far the best bumper sticker: It Takes Leather Balls To Play Rugby.

    And it’s no surprise when England beats the US, but when Japan beats Ireland. Well….

  17. grumpy realist says:

    @An Interested Party: I think a lot of the Corbynistas do. It’s so much easier to pretend that you need to stand with your back to the wall, boldly defending your pure, pure Revolution, rather than actually being in power and having to deal with reality.

    It’s a well-known strategy–stick the fire-breathing revolutionaries into government positions and after a few months they discover, sadder but wiser, that a) things aren’t as simple as they originally thought and b) the populace doesn’t really want the proclaimed Revolution. I actually have more admiration for the revolutionary idealists who are willing to try to put their beliefs into action than the ones who know full well they’re just shadowboxing.

  18. @JohnMcC:

    there is reason to reevaluate the ‘great man’ theory of history.

    I am not a fan of said theory, lest I be misunderstood.

  19. JohnSF says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Personally, I’m inclined to the ‘bloody annoying man’ theory of history these days.

  20. @JohnSF: There is a lot of that going around at the moment.