The chaos over last night’s Back Frack or Sack vote is, somehow, still ongoing. Now Anne-Marie Trevelyan has just claimed on the media round that it wasn’t a confidence vote, and there will be “strong constituency reasons why MPs did not vote” with the Government. This will surprise any MP who read this message from Downing Street at 1:33am last night:
“The prime minister has full confidence in the chief and deputy chief whip. Throughout the day, the whips had treated the vote as a confidence motion. The minister at the despatch box was told, mistakenly, by Downing Street to say that it was not.”
However, Conservative MPs were fully aware that the vote was subject to a three line whip. The whips will now be speaking to Conservative MPs who failed to support the government. Those without a reasonable excuse for failing to vote with the government can expect proportionate disciplinary action.”
For those struggling to keep up: Downing Street announced it was a confidence motion, then Graham Stuart claimed at the despatch box that it wasn’t, then the Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip briefly resigned and un-resigned, then Downing Street said Liz has “full confidence” in a whip who reportedly doesn’t “give a f*ck“, then MPs were told it was a confidence motion after all… only for the government line to then seemingly change again by the morning round.
For what it’s worth, Guido’s spoken to several rebellious MPs who, as of this morning, still have no idea if they’ve lost the whip or not. Strap in for another day…