The US President who took over after Kennedy was assassinated, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was famed for his sayings that wonderfully summed up political situations one of which was that the first rule of politics was that its “practitioners need to be able to count”.
If only MPs and the media circus had thought about that last night when Corbyn made his ludicrous pitch to try to embarrass new LD leader Jo Swinson.
For the main requirement for the circumstances envisaged to be apply is Johnson’s government being defeated on a confidence motion and that based on current numbers is highly unlikely. For the only way that this could get through is for three CON MPS to rebel. This is how Stephen Bush puts in in the I:
“Getting even three Tory names is a major difficulty, but clearing that hurdle on paper still isn’t enough. There are also the ten MPs who were elected in 2017 under Labour colours, but who have since quit because they believe that Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Prime Minister. This is due to what they see as, at best, toleration of anti-Semitism in the Labour ranks and a collection of political views that are dangerous to the country. Then there is Sylvia Hermon, an independent Unionist MP who opposes the Conservative party but has vowed never to make Corbyn Prime Minister due to his historical ties to the Republican movement. So to cancel out their votes you need not three Conservative MPs, but fourteen. There is no chance of attracting anything like that many Conservative rebels.“
Jo Swinson got round to this during the afternoon in her letter to Corbyn. But this is good reminder that the chances of such a vote succeeding is highly unlikely under the current composition of the Commons.