That said, it was initially rather alarming to realise that the margin of defeat for the government in those circumstances would have been just one vote. On the face of it, that raises the possibility that the DUP might eventually decide to bring about a general election, but fail to do so. Remember that on a tied vote, the Speaker is supposed to exercise his casting vote in line with the status quo, which in the case of a no confidence motion means voting to save the government. So the arithmetic with the DUP opposing the government looks very close to being a coin toss.
Thankfully, it turns out that three ex-Labour MPs who now sit as independents abstained last night - Fiona Onasanya, the odious John Woodcock, and Ivan Lewis. Mr Woodcock is clearly a lost cause, and I don't know what the situation with Mr Lewis is, but I would guess Ms Onasanya probably just couldn't be bothered to turn up, because she's no longer subject to Labour discipline and she knew the motion was going to fail anyway. So it's likely that the combined opposition forces can count on an extra vote or two in any truly competitive no confidence vote, which should ensure that only the DUP are required - assuming, that is, Ms Onasanya remains out of jail. She obviously wouldn't be able to vote from prison, and if any jail sentence is of a duration of one year or longer, she would automatically forfeit her seat in the Commons, triggering a by-election in a marginal constituency that the Tories could conceivably win (if the current opinion polls are to be believed). In that scenario, the parliamentary arithmetic would become that bit more daunting. But it hasn't happened yet, and it may not happen at all.
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There was an even more peculiar article on the Corbynite alternative media website Evolve Politics last night, with a ludicrous headline claiming that the SNP were plotting with the Lib Dems to prop up the Tories in future no confidence votes. The mind boggles as to how clueless any reporter would have to be about the realities of Scottish politics to give even the remotest credence to that story. Sure enough, Kirsty Blackman immediately informed them in no uncertain terms on Twitter that they were wrong. They hilariously reacted as if they had just succeeded in extracting some sort of 'concession' from her under pressure, but of course she was merely stating the blindingly obvious. The SNP are in fact considerably more determined and more united in their attempts to bring down the government than the Labour party are, as evidenced by their tabling of a no confidence motion in December when Labour were holding back.
And if you think about it, the SNP's stance effectively kills the story as far as the Lib Dems are concerned as well. Although it's not hard to see why the Lib Dems might want to threaten to abstain on a no confidence vote in an attempt to pressure Labour into backing a second referendum, there's no way they'd be able to see that threat through unless they had the safety-blanket of another party doing the same thing. Single-handedly propping the Tories up at this stage would be electoral suicide for Cable's mob.
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Scot Goes Pop fundraiser: If you'd like to help this blog continue during what could be an epic few months ahead, just a reminder that last year's fundraiser is still very much open for donations, and hasn't reached the target figure yet.