The latest UK Prime Minister is currently in quite a bad spot. The universally panned mini-budget has inflicted so much chaos the BoE has had to step in, and the Chancellor has been sacked a little over a month into the job.

The i is reporting that as many as 100 Tory MPs have submitted no confidence votes to the 1922 committee well above the 15% threshold, such that only the party rules regarding a grace period are preventing her from being replaced by her own MPs through an internal confidence vote.

Numerous Labour MPs are on record saying a general election is now required, hardly surprising given their current polling.

Is something preventing Labour seeking a vote of no confidence in the Government?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – CDJB
    Oct 20, 2022 at 18:29

2 Answers 2


You should distinguish between a vote in Parliament, and a vote in the Conservative party. These are very different, with different rules and different outcomes.

There is nothing preventing a confidence vote in the government held in Parliament. The loss of this vote would likely lead to a General Election.

However that would not be a no-confidence in Liz Truss. It would be a vote on the Conservative government. It is unlikely that Conservative party MPs would vote against the Government, and in favour of an election.

The Labour Party may put down a confidence vote, but it would be merely a symbolic act, with practically no chance of passing

A no-confidence vote in Truss would be a Conservative party internal vote. The current rules of the Conservative party do not allow for confidence votes in the leader in the first year after taking office. If the Party rules were changed, and the no-confidence voted passed, then Liz Truss would be required to step down as PM when a new Leader of the Conservative party was chosen, but there would be no requirement for a General Election.

  • 2
    and the 1st type of vote's (vs. Conservative govt) futility is directly related to Conservatives holding 356/650 seats in House of Commons, correct? Oct 18, 2022 at 21:56
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    Yes, while there are plenty of Conservative MPs who are upset with Truss, very few would prefer to lose their seats and allow a Labour government. There is no Parliamentary mechanism to remove a PM, but not bring down the government.
    – James K
    Oct 18, 2022 at 22:00
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    @JamesK - According to the Daily Telegraph - not a left-wing paper - some Conservative MPs are alleged to be saying in private that a Labour government is best current option for the country. Oct 19, 2022 at 9:00
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    may be worth stating explicitly that a large part of why tory mps would not vote against the government in parliament is that, based on current polls, many (most?) would likely lose their seats. And that's on top of the usual issues around rebelling, especially on such an important vote
    – Tristan
    Oct 19, 2022 at 10:48
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    Please remember, this comment thread is not the place to discuss politics!
    – James K
    Oct 19, 2022 at 19:36

No, there’s nothing preventing Labour from doing so. According to paragraph 18.44 of Erskine May;

By established convention, the Government always accedes to the demand from the Leader of the Opposition to allot a day for the discussion of a motion tabled by the official Opposition which, in the Government's view, would have the effect of testing the confidence of the House. In allotting a day for this purpose, the Government is entitled to have regard to the exigencies of its own business, but a reasonably early day is invariably found.

Even if the Government refused to adhere to this ‘established convention’, there is coincidentally an Opposition Day tomorrow (October 19th) during which Labour has control of the parliamentary time table under Standing Order 14. We’ll see if there’s a dramatic change of schedule allowed by the Speaker, but at the time of writing there are two opposition debates scheduled - one titled “Economic responsibility and a plan for growth”, and one on on the “Ban on Fracking for Shale Gas Bill”.

However, confidence votes tend to have the effect of rallying MPs of the governing party around the leadership - even if temporarily - see, for example, the motion of no confidence laid by Jeremy Corbyn in Theresa May’s government at the beginning of 2019.

Given that Conservative MPs currently seem to need no further encouragement to openly attack Truss’s premiership, but have not (yet) taken steps to remove her from the party leadership by changing the rules of the 1922 committee, it is unlikely that enough would openly vote against a Conservative government in the Commons. This is underlined by the fact that if a confidence vote did topple the government, and a general election were called, given the current polling many Conservative MPs would lose their jobs, and two extra years of an £84k salary is pretty hard to pass up. Even if certain MPs remain confident in retaining their seats, voting against the party leadership in a confidence vote is a sure-fire way to lose the party whip and be deselected, meaning they’d have to run as independents.

  • Thanks, I honestly would not expect it to succeed but I did and do wonder why it isn't being done to force 'party before country' onto the record.
    – Jontia
    Oct 18, 2022 at 21:35
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    @Jontia we’re into speculation now, but I can see Tory MPs being so disgruntled about being forced to vote for Truss in the commons that they would then swiftly replace her behind the scenes. Every day that Truss remains in power -for the moment at least - is strengthening Labour’s position.
    – CDJB
    Oct 18, 2022 at 21:44
  • Boris Johnson's government refused to debate a Labour confidence vote last July, so clearly it's not automatic that such a motion will be debated.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 18, 2022 at 22:52
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    @StuartF that was because -the Conservatives argued - Labour worded it as a vote of confidence in Boris Johnson, rather than the government. The Government then tabled their own confidence motion in themselves, which they won easily.
    – CDJB
    Oct 18, 2022 at 23:05
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    There's the time-honored principle: "Never interfere with the enemy when he is in the process of destroying himself."
    – T.E.D.
    Oct 19, 2022 at 16:09

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