25 September 2019



Iain Duncan Smith: Opposition could have passed a vote of no confidence to avoid prorogation

Following the Attorney General’s statement on his legal advice to the Government on prorogation, Iain Duncan Smith asks why the Opposition parties did not pass a vote of no confidence in the Government to avoid the prorogation of Parliament.

Mr Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)

I wonder if my right hon. and learned Friend, having read the full summary of yesterday’s judgment by the Supreme Court, was also struck by something that seems to be missing within its methodology. When it stood up, it said, for the right of Parliament to hold any Executive to account, at no point did it reference that one of the ways of avoiding or dismissing a Prorogation would have been to pass a vote of no confidence in the Government or to vote for a general election. Does he agree that that would have been a sure-fire way for the Opposition parties to secure an end to any Prorogation and an immediate change of Government, if they so wished, but that they were frightened?

The Attorney General

I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend. In our constitution, when a Government can no longer govern because Parliament has withdrawn its assent, the moral and constitutional thing to do is to have the courage of your convictions, which this spineless gang on the Opposition Front Bench do not, and to table a motion of no confidence, but they have not got the guts to table that motion of no confidence because most of them do not want their own leader in power.