Mays tenuous government is dangling by a string. With the vote of no-confidence imminent, certain forces will not allow her minority government to collapse.
I’m speaking, of course, about the DUP.
This is a prediction of course, but unless a chunk of the Conservative Party decided to rebel against their own party today, the conclusion to today’s pantomime is already set in Stone.
While the DUP may have rebelled against the Brexit agreement yesterday, casting aside the confidence and supply arrangement citing a lack of the former, we should not be complacent enough to forget that they have a lot to lose if the Conservative Government falls.
With continuing deadlock at Stormont, the DUP having defacto control of the Conservatives by propping up their Government can exert power over Northern Ireland through reserved matters. They have unlimited control over Northern Ireland and can exert it simply by refusing to back the Tories in certain policy areas with a “you will do this or we will not back xyz”. The Conservatives being ousted means an end to their rein.
If the Conservative Government falls, it is unlikely that the balance in the voting intentions will remain the same, with Conservatives set to lose seats in Scotland, the likely outcome is another hung parliament with a smaller minority Tory Government. Labour has been lacklustre and they simply do not have enough sway to command enough seats to give them a majority. If parliament returns from a General Election with the conservatives further diminished, it is likely the 10 DUP members will not make up the difference between minority and majority and with it goes their power over the UK Government.
Today’s proceedings will likely entail a lengthy conversation between the DUP and the Tories in the background, it is likely that the DUP will press their advantage over the Tories and seek something in return for not supporting the motion of no confidence. Perhaps another £1Bn for Northern Ireland? In any case, it is highly doubtful that the DUP will allow Mays Government to fall.
The Tories currently command 317 MP’s and the combined strength of all of the other parties in the commons, excluding the DUP (and Sinn Fein who do not take their seats) and including the independent MPs make a total of 315. That means if the DUP don’t back may, her Government may fall. What will be needed today will be at least 13 tory rebels for the motion to pass, or for the DUP to abstain and 3 members of the Tory Party to back the motion, or for the DUP to vote in favour of the motion. But those three scenarios are unlikely. The likely result today will be 327 to 315 (excluding anyone off sick or otherwise engaged). But suffice to say, the likelihood of a general election coming is unlikely, leaving the Scottish Government only one option considering that the SNP have tried everything they possibly can to have the UK Government see reason, that option is an immediate call for a Second Referendum on Independence from the UK.