– Brecon the camel’s back –
On Friday, Chris Davies, the MP for Brecon & Radnorshire, was recalled by petition. With the seat vacant, the Conservative-DUP working majority is just three. The by-election is widely expected to be a victory for the Liberal Democrats, pushing that majority to just two.
It’s up to Theresa May to set the timing for the by-election. If she moves the writ today, the election will take place on July 25, the next PM’s first day in office.
If anyone defects that could be curtains for the Government. The Sunday Times reported that two were already on a “watchlist”, while Sir Vince Cable claimed yesterday that he was talking to “quite a few” Tory and Labour MPs about joining the Lib Dems.
– PM for a day –
The only question appears to be one of timing. The Times reports that Tory Remainer rebels are split between acting on that first day, when Labour is certain to table a motion of no confidence, or waiting until the September session of Parliament. If they wait, they could force the new PM to let Parliament rule out no deal.
Whenever it happens, a lost vote of confidence would lead to a two-week cooling-off period. During that time the new PM could be forced to change direction or a new moderate Tory PM put in place. But that would create fury among much of the party and it’s hard to see a majority going along with it.
And if defections had eliminated the government’s working majority it wouldn’t matter anyway.
In short, the question would appear to be: would you like your general election in early or late Autumn?