The Scottish National Party (SNP) will request to be made the United Kingdom’s new official opposition, according to the BBC.
The party led by Nicola Sturgeon will ask to replace Labour as the Conservative government’s opposition on the grounds that it enjoys more support from its own MPs than the party led by under-pressure Jeremy Corbyn.
The Scottish party currently has 54 MPs in the House of Commons after a stunning performance in last year’s general election. This compares to the 40 Labour MPs who expressed support for Corbyn in a confidence vote on Tuesday. In total, there are 229 Labour MPs.
This development is the latest in a crazy week in British politics. If the Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow accepts the SNP’s request, it would mean that a party with an official policy to bring Scotland out of the UK would become, in theory, the UK’s government in waiting.
Even if Bercow declines the request, which is the most likely outcome, the request itself will have symbolic value and would be yet another body-blow to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn is being pressured to stand down as leader after dozens of his Shadow Cabinet have resigned — the latest being Pat Glass, who stepped down today after only being inserted into Corbyn’s emergency cabinet over the weekend.
The SNP have cited parliamentary rules which state the official opposition must be “prepared to assume power” and has indicated that it would be able to fill all of the shadow posts if granted opposition status, the BBC reports.
The crisis that is engulfing Labour means that the party is unable to meet this basic expectation of the opposition. For example, Jeremy Corbyn has yet to appoint a shadow Scottish secretary.
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