What would it take for Britain to have another snap General Election?

We are close to a constitutional crisis if, as widely expected, British Prime Minister Theresa May fails to achieve a majority vote in the House of Commons for her Brexit deal. Many – including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – are calling for a General Election. But how likely is that?

In the past, elections to the House of Commons had to be held within five years of the previous General Election, but the Prime Minister had complete discretion over the actual date which was often the subject of considerable speculation and frequently a year or more before an election was legally necessary.

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat Coalition Government agreed to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments and the necessary legislation was enacted in the Fixed Term Parliament Act of 2011.

Therefore, subject to either a vote of no confidence in the Government (following which there is 14 days to attempt to form a new government that does have the confidence of the House) or a two-thirds majority vote (which effectively means both major parties supporting the motion), a General Election will now be held on the first Thursday of May five years after the previous election.

In my view, even if the Brexit deal goes down (as I want). the Government would win a no confidence vote and, even if it did not, Conservative MPs would not vote for an early General Election (turkeys rarely vote for Christmas).

The best resolution would be a second referendum with a straight choice between May’s Brexit deal or remaining in the European Union on current terms. This way, hopefully we can stop the madness of the last two and a half years and stay in the EU.


  • Nadine Wiseman

    Have there been any polls regarding the likely outcome of a Second Referendum?
    Are there concerns a Second Referendum could bring out nasty aspects from the far right?

  • Roger Darlington

    The polls suggest that there could be a win for remaining in the EU but not by a large margin. The supporters of Brexit would feel cheated but I think that a second referendum is the only fair way to resolve this issue. The conduct of the referendum and the aftermath could well stir up the far Right but I think that we have to tough that out.

  • Peter Clark

    I thought the EU had gone on the record saying that Britain “could not go back – Britain has left the EU” . . . ???

  • Roger Darlington

    Britain has not left the EU yet and there is nothing in the process that prevents us changing our mind about leaving before we have actually left.


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