UK Labour threaten to pursue election through no confidence vote

The leader of the British opposition Labour Party on Friday said he would try to bring about a national election using a vote of confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson next week unless Conservative lawmakers acted to remove him earlier.

Johnson has said he will resign when a new Conservative Party leader is selected, with more details on the timetable to be laid out next week by the Conservative Party’s 1922 Committee.

Asked if he was pushing for a vote of no confidence next week to trigger a general election, Starmer said “yes” and said that Conservative lawmakers should act to remove Johnson early next week.

“If they don’t, we will step up with a vote of no confidence,” Starmer told a news conference.

Fielding questions about whether his party could win any election outright, Starmer ruled out entering into an alliance or coalition with the Scottish National Party (SNP) but was less definitive on arrangements with the centrist Liberal Democrats.

The SNP dominance of Westminster seats in Scotland, a former Labour heartland, since 2015 has made the route to a majority for Labour more difficult, with Conservatives saying Labour would need to do a deal with the SNP and possibly risk the break-up of the UK.

Starmer said that aside from any electoral calculus, he wanted to be a prime minister for the whole United Kingdom.

“There will be no deal going into a general election and no deal coming out of a general election,” he said. “There is no basis – no basis – for an alliance with a party who wants to break up the United Kingdom.”

On any Liberal Democrat alliance, which could help deprive the Conservatives of an outright victory if the parties agree not to compete directly in key areas, Starmer only said that he wanted a Labour majority and would succeed in winning one.