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Jeremy Corbyn moves motion of no confidence in the government

Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, moving a motion of no confidence in the government, said "Mr Speaker, I move the motion that this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.

Last night the Government was defeated by 230 votes. The largest defeat in the history of our democracy. The first Government to be defeated by more than 200 votes.

Last week they lost a vote on the Finance Bill. That what’s called supply. Yesterday they lost a vote by biggest margin ever. That what’s regarded as confidence.

By any convention of this House, by any precedent the loss of confidence and supply should mean they do the right thing and resign.

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister has consistently claimed that her deal, which has now been decisively rejected was good for Britain, workers, and businesses.

If she is so confident of that, if she genuinely believes it, she should have nothing to fear from going to the people and letting them decide.

In this week, in 1910, the British electorate went to the polls. They did so because Herbert Asquith’s Liberal government had been unable to get Lloyd George’s People’s Budget through the other place.

They were confident in their arguments and went to the people and were returned.

It is still how our democracy works. When we have a government that cannot govern, in the absence of a written constitution, it is these conventions that guide us.

If a government cannot get its legislation through Parliament, it must go to the country for a new mandate and that must apply when it is on the key issue of the day.

We know the Prime Minister is not against snap elections on principle because she herself went to the people in 2017, saying “Give me the mandate I need”.

She bypassed the Fixed Term Parliament Act, which was, as my Rt Hon Friend, the Shadow Foreign Secretary pointed out, designed to give some stability to the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government, to ensure that the Lib Dems couldn’t hold the Conservatives to ransom by constantly threatening to collapse the coalition. The Fixed Term Parliament Act was never intended to prop up a zombie government.

And there can be no doubt that this is a zombie government.

Defeated last night by the largest margin of any government ever.

In December it became the first government ever to be held in contempt by Parliament.

Last week it became the first government for more than 40 years to lose a vote on a Finance Bill.

And a shocking first for this government is forcing a heavily pregnant member of this House to delay a scheduled caesarean to come to vote and all because of their cynical breaking of the trusted pairing arrangements in this House which have endured for decades.

Nothing demonstrates the sheer incompetence of this government quite like the Brexit negotiations.

Yesterday’s historic and humiliating defeat was the result of two years of chaos and failure.

It is now clear this government is not capable of winning support for its core plan on the most vital issue facing this country.

The Prime Minister has lost control and the government has lost the ability to govern.

Within two years they have managed to turn a deal from what was supposed to be ”one of the easiest in human history” into a national embarrassment.

In that time we have seen the Prime Minister’s demands quickly turned into one humiliating climb-down after another.

Brexit ministers have come and gone but the shambles has remained unchanged, culminating in an agreement which was described by one former Cabinet minister as “the worst of all worlds”.

Let’s be clear, the deal the Prime Minister wanted this Parliament to support would have left the UK in a helpless position, facing a choice of either seeking and paying for an extended transition period or trapped in the backstop.

The Prime Minister may claim the backstop would never have come into force but who has confidence in this government’s ability to negotiate a future trade deal with the EU by December 2020 after the shambles we have all witnessed over the past two years?

This Frankenstein deal is now officially dead and the Prime Minister is trying to blame everybody else.

Mr Speaker let me be clear the blame for this mess lies firmly at the feet of the Prime Minister and her government, which time after time has made hollow demands and given false promises.

They say they want this Parliament to be sovereign yet whenever their plans have come up against scrutiny they have done all they can to obstruct and evade.

The Prime Minister’s original plan was to push through a deal without the appropriate approval of this Parliament only to be forced into holding a meaningful vote by the courts and by members of this House.

Mr Speaker, since losing its majority in the 2017 general election the Government has had numerous opportunities to engage with others and listen to their views, not just here in Westminster but across the country.

Yesterday’s decisive defeat is the result of the Prime Minister just not listening, ignoring businesses, trade unions and members of this House.

Instead she has wasted two years recklessly ploughing on with her doomed strategy.

And even at the last, when it was clear her botched and damaging deal could not remotely command support here or across the country, she decided to waste even more time by pulling the meaningful vote on the empty promise of obtaining legal assurances on the backstop.

Some on the government side have tried to portray the Prime Minister’s approach as stoical.

Mr Speaker, what we have seen over the past few months is not stoical. Instead we have witnessed is a Prime Minister acting in her narrow party interest, rather than the public interest.