John McDonnell - Labour could form government if Brexit deal fails

The Shadow Chancellor said that the Queen could ask Labour to take over from the current Government if May's Brexit deal fails, after the DUP seemed to abandon their previous Supply and Confidence agreement with the Tories.

Speaking at an event in the City of London, McDonnell said: "We haven't sufficiently explored the concept of a minority government in our constitution, our custom and practice.

"If [the Conservatives] can't command a majority, usually it is then the duty of the monarch to offer to the Opposition the chance to form a government - and that would be a minority government - to see whether they have a majority in Parliament."

"I think we could secure a majority in Parliament for some of the proposals that we're putting forward."

The comments come as the Democratic Unionist Party abstained on key votes on the government's Finance Bill, meaning the Tories were forced to accept amendments from the SNP and Labour.

Labour has previously said that the Conservatives should call a General Election if Theresa May is unable to pass her deal through the House of Commons, although given the extremely short amount of time until Brexit occurs, this may no longer be possible.

"The process around offering the opposition party [the opportunity to try to form a government] usually comes as a result of the minority government losing votes within the House." continued McDonnell.

"That's already begun to happen on the Finance Bill, and the Finance Bill is usually the most significant piece of legislation in any year."

"However, I think the test is whether or not the government is losing consistent votes on the issue of the deal itself. If it is, then it's demonstrating that as a minority government it hasn't got the will of the House, the majority of the House, and therefore it's a situation where it's ungovernable, they're not in government."

"Therefore the normal process is that the opposition party should be offered the opportunity to see if it can form a government that could secure a majority in the House for its proposals, and I think that's the process we should go through".

A spokesperson for Mrs May said that the DUP deal "remains in place", adding: “It is a deal between two parties, signed by the chief whips of both parties.”

The DUP is set to meet for its annual conference this weekend.

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