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It seems to me the "British Constitution" is somewhat murky on this point.

If Boris loses a Vote of Confidence (VOC) he (or someone else) has two weeks to (re)gain that confidence. Does he remain PM during this period? Is there such a concept as a caretaker govt. in the constitution? Can the UK be, effectively, without a government for some weeks? Does he move out of No. 10?

The key point being that if the British Government - any or no government - does nothing, a no deal Brexit will happen on 31st. and there is nothing anybody can do to stop it.

If no new governing majority is formed within 2 weeks, under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 "he" (or Parliament?) must call a general election. But as shown elsewhere, that doesn't have to happen until after Oct 31st. - although the rules for determining when an election must be held also seem murky. In 2017 the general election didn't happen until 7 weeks after it was called "for technical reasons" - the normal period is c. 25 days?

If Boris loses a VOC, the Queen would "take soundings" to see if anyone else can command the confidence of the house. Assuming Corbyn can't command a majority but is unwilling to stand aside for (say) a moderate Tory (do they still exist?) to form a Government, the UK is effectively without a government until such time as the General Election happens.

Of course Boris can call a general election before he loses a VOC with Corbyn's support to create a two thirds majority in the HOC - as happened in 2017. Boris then remains PM for the duration of the campaign. Presumably Corbyn would agree only if the GE is called for before 31st. Oct.

The fact that the UK doesn't have a written constitution means that there is regular talk of a "constitutional crisis" in the UK - something which simply doesn't happen in more advanced democracies with a written constitution - where the Supreme Court decides on issues of interpretation and that is the end of the matter (unless, as in the USA, the Supreme Court decides to radically re-interpret what the founders "intended".

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Aug 3rd, 2019 at 10:57:53 AM EST
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