As people may know, there is all kinds of excitement in UK politics at the moment. As part of this, the UK government has challenged the opposition to propose a motion of no confidence in it but the opposition has refused. So my question is:

Can the UK government propose a motion of no confidence in itself? Or is there something in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act that prevents this?

1 Answer 1


Yeah, they can go ahead and do that. It's an unlikely option though, because they can also propose a one-line bill that disregards the FTPA to bring about an early general election with a simple 50% + 1 majority, and that route doesn't require Conservative MPs to vote that they have no confidence in a Conservative government

  • Does the vote of no confidence (VONC) route require all the different stages of a bill? That is First reading, Second reading, Committee stage. Report stage, Third reading, Consideration of amendments, Royal Assent. I thought that was the advantage of the VONC over passing a short bill.
    – Simd
    Sep 27, 2019 at 10:26
  • See this question for discussion of the pros and cons of a one-line bill. Sep 27, 2019 at 10:29
  • 2
    @Anush: no, it's a simple motion, not a bill. The wording is fixed by the FTPA. Sep 27, 2019 at 10:30
  • So it seems the easiest route is to propose a VONC in themselves. The only thing stopping them is shame...:)
    – Simd
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:18
  • 5
    But the "one-line bill" is amendable, which the Conservatives may see as a threat (recall that they are currently far short of a majority in the Commons): suppose the opposition managed to amend it to reduce the voting age to 16, or grant voting rights to EU citizens with the new 'settled status'? Such moves would probably help the opposition more than the Conservatives. So they might see the "no-confidence" route as safer.
    – Senex
    Sep 27, 2019 at 11:42

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