Being able to carry the support of Parliament is the key determinant of being a government. The issue is what kind of demonstration or defeat signifies that a government has failed to command confidence. Since 1782, the most clear-cut way in which this occurs is when a government is defeated on a vote of confidence – either a motion tabled with such wording (either referring to lack of confidence or a censure of the government) or on other votes that the government has indicated it considered a matter of confidence. FTPA challenges the previous convention purely because it explicitly sets out a process for what happens if a particularly worded vote of confidence occurs. What is less clear is how other worded votes of confidence are used by Parliament and whether past convention requiring a government to resign remains in force. We won’t entirely know unless the FTPA process is actually used or deliberately avoided. History suggests that convention will continue to be as powerful and current parties may just avoid triggering the FTPA. FTPA is not about forcing a government to resign, but rather a mechanism to allow for an early election. A defeat on an explicitly worded vote […]

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