Corbyn: I'll wait until 'appropriate time' to table no-confidence motion in PM

PUBLISHED: 16:23 11 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:23 11 December 2018

The absolute decoy

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Jeremy Corbyn has disappointed supporters by insisting he will wait until the "appropriate time" to table a motion of no-confidence in Theresa May's government.

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The Labour leader told MPs that May must admit her Brexit deal is "dead" and criticised her "shambolic" Brexit negotiations, before adding: "She no longer has the authority to negotiate for this country when she doesn't even have the authority of her own party."

He also accused the prime minister of having "wasted" almost £100,000 of taxpayers' cash in a week by trying to promote her "dog's dinner of a Brexit deal" via Facebook advertisements.

SNP Commons leader Pete Wishart intervened to challenge Corbyn over his plans to try to remove May from power.

He said: "This government is an absolute shambles, they have failed the country, they are in contempt of Parliament - will he not do the right thing now and table a motion of no confidence in this Government so we can be shot of them?"

Corbyn said he had tabled the emergency debate motion on the Brexit vote process, adding: "We have no confidence in this government.

"We need to do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time to have a motion of no confidence in order to get rid of this government."

The exchanges came at the beginning of an emergency debate on May's decision to avoid defeat in the Commons by delaying the Brexit deal vote.

Corbyn also said: "This runaway prime minister is not even seeking to negotiate. She confirmed she's only seeking reassurances.

"Our prime minister is traipsing round the continent in pursuit and search of warm words when she can get out of the car to hear them.

"It really is, Mr Speaker, if I may say so, the unspeakable in pursuit of the unwritten. A waste of time and a waste of public money."

He added: "If the prime minister comes back with nothing more than warm words then she must immediately put her deal to the House. No more delays, no more tricks, let Parliament take control.

"If not, then frankly Mr Speaker, she must go, we cannot tolerate delay any longer.

"With a legally enshrined exit date of March 29, 2019, just over 100 days away, we cannot allow this shambles to endure and neither can we risk falling into a no-deal."

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, who is Mrs May's deputy, was at one stage heckled by his own side after defending the government's actions and reiterating that the "remaining stages of this debate have not been cancelled but have been deferred".

Tory former minister Mark Francois said: "The honourable thing the government should have done yesterday, was come to the House, table a revised business motion to say put the vote back one week, argue to the House why they needed that extra time and then put it to the vote

"That would have been the honourable way to proceed. Why did the government not do that?"

Lidington said any amendment would need the House to vote for it, but Francois angrily shouted from the benches behind him: "We can't vote on it if you don't bring it forward, can we?"

Lidington later said May wanted to bring the revised deal back before the January 21 date if possible, which he said was "a deadline" and not "a target".

He added to Labour's Hilary Benn, chairman of the Brexit Committee, that the outcome of the PM's talks with the EU would determine whether the Brexit vote debate was "restarted from scratch" or whether it resumed on its current terms.

Tory MP Simon Hoare (North Dorset) questioned why if Corbyn believes "things really are so bad and as rotten as they believe to be" that the Labour leader has not tabled a no-confidence motion and was instead "faffing around with standing order debates".

Lidington acknowledged this was a "very reasonable question" but not something for him to answer.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said May was "focused on running down the clock", adding: "Her strategy seemingly now to present a binary option, her deal or no deal."

Blackford added: "I say respectfully to [Corbyn] you will have our support if you table a vote of no confidence.

"It is time for the prime minister to go, this is not a time for floundering, it is time for leadership. The prime minister has shown nothing but contempt."

Addressing Corbyn, he went on: "I must say respectfully to the leader of the opposition that we want to work with you, we have a choice to put this above party politics, to bring this matter to an end and to bring this shambolic government to an end with a motion of no confidence."

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