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It is not clear what the rules are for a vote of no confidence and the consequent 14 day period for a government to be given a confidence vote. To what extent do the pre-2011 conventions still apply?

We do not know because the UK has not so far gone through a vote of no confidence under the Fixed Term Parliament Act procedures.

The old conventions were fairly clear. A vote of no confidence was any vote the government designated as such or votes on a Queen's speech (government programme for a session of Parliament) or major financial issues (denial of supply). Passage of a vote of no confidence gave the incumbent Prime Minister a choice between resigning or calling a new general election

The Conservatives have clearly identified an interpretation of the conventions that have applied since 2011.

  1. The only effective way of voting no confidence was to use the Fixed Term Parliament Act procedure.
  2. The government was only obliged to provide parliamentary time for a vote of no confidence moved by the Leader of the Opposition athough the government could at its discretion allow time for someone else to move such a motion.
  3. The effect of passage of a vote of no confidence under the 2011 Act, was to codify the previous convention. The Prime Minister could either resign or stay in office for 14 days to try and convince Parliament to vote confidence in the government and if not hold a general election.
  4. If the incumbent Prime Minister decided not to resign there is no way in which an alternative Prime Minister can obtain an effective vote of confidence.

It is this last proposition which may be in dispute. However to disprove it may require the monarch to exercise the reserve power of the Crown to dismiss the incumbent and appoint a new Prime Minister. It seems more likely that a cautious monarch would accept the advice of an existing Prime Minister and let the people sort things out in a general election.
by Gary J on Thu Aug 29th, 2019 at 04:56:44 AM EST

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