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16th Jul 2018

Government wants to give MPs early holiday to avoid possible PM no confidence vote

James Dawson

They’ve tabled a motion to bring forward MPs’ summer break

Theresa May’s government is attempting to bring forward parliament’s summer recess to avoid a leadership challenge.

On Monday night amendments to the Customs Bill were carried by just three votes, after the Prime Minister made concessions to try and appease Brexit-supporting MPs.

The government announced earlier today that it was backing the amendment, tabled by Brexiteer Tories, to trade proposals relating to the UK-EU borders after Brexit.

In turn, the attempt at appeasement has enraged remainers, with Guto Bebb stepping down as a defence minister in order to vote against the amendments tonight. A total of 10 MPs have now resigned in as many days.

Ministers now want parliament to close five days earlier, on Thursday rather than next Tuesday, as originally scheduled. Doing so would lessen the chance of a vote of no confidence against the prime minister – something Brexiteers continue to threaten following the resignation of foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis last week.

The Conservative party has looked increasingly divided in recent days, with remain-supporting MPs seemingly as unhappy as their Brexit-supporting colleagues. On Monday morning former education secretary Justine Greening called for a second referendum on EU membership, she said: “Brexit has to be above party politics, what’s right for the country needs to come first.

“Parliament is now stalemated on a way forward on Brexit, if it’s the prime minister’s deal it will be voted down, if it’s a proposal for no deal that will be voted down, all parliament can do is block a route forward.”

Despite her party being in turmoil, it is possible that Theresa May will be able to make it to the summer break unscathed. A total of 48 MPs would have to write letters to the Conservative Party’s 1922 committee calling for a confidence vote in order for one to be triggered, May would then need to win the support of over half of the party’s 316 MPs.

There will be a vote in the Commons tomorrow morning on the summer recess date change.