The winning margin will set the baseline for future challenges
The outcome of this afternoon’s confidence vote in HMG is not really in doubt following the assurances made last night by Moggsy and representatives of the DUP that they would be backing the government. The real interest will be the size of the winning margin because it will almost certainly represent the maximum for both those for and against and looks like being the baseline for future such votes in the House.
The numbers in the vote this afternoon will be a good guide to the DUP of the value of their confidence and supply support for Mrs May’s government. If they are the ones, as is likely, who are keeping the Conservatives (a majority below 20) afloat then that will surely lead to further demands and add to their leverage.
The outcome this afternoon will indicate whether Labour is be able to count on the votes of all 5 MPs who were elected at the general election and no longer take the party whip.
Looking forward if the actions of the courts result in there being a vacancy in Peterborough then a CON gain in the by-election could have a significant impact decreasing the CON majority deficit by two.
In the 1974-79 parliament by election losses by LAB played a big part in eroding its minute majority and forced in into a pact with the Liberals. It was only when that broke down that Callaghan’s government was defeated in a confidence vote.
A great strength of Theresa May’s position is that if there was a general election it would create the risk of Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister – something that’s anathema to just about everybody within the Conservative Party. Even those Tory MPs most hostile to her are not going to want to be accused of letting him in.
There is no question that the pro second referendum SNP and Lib Dems are going to back Corbyn’s move this afternoon. But what about future confidence votes if the Labour leader is seen as the one who blocked another referendum? The current unity might not prevail in the future.