North Down MP Lady Hermon last night voted to keep Theresa May in office – and has indicated that she will never support a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
In a further example of how the Labour leader’s long association with IRA members and Sinn Fein continues to cast a shadow over him now, Lady Hermon’s opposition to Mr Corbyn comes despite her being highly sceptical about the Tories.
Lady Hermon, who is the only non-DUP Northern Ireland MP who takes their seat in the Commons, told the New Statesman: “I will be voting in support of the government tonight. I will not be assisting Mr Corbyn in being given the keys to No 10.”
The magazine reported that Lady Hermon was clear that there are no circumstances in which she could support or facilitate the election of a government led by Mr Corbyn.
Lady Hermon quit the Ulster Unionist Party in 2010 over its alliance with the Conservatives. At the time she said: “I am not a Tory.”
Lady Hermon’s late husband, Sir John Hermon, was chief constable of the RUC for almost all of the 1980s.
Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn yesterday came under pressure from within the Labour parliamentary party.
Some 71 Labour MPs and 13 MEPs have signed a letter backing a second referendum.
The MPs said they backed the no-confidence motion in the hope of forcing an early general election, but said if this did not succeed the party should “unequivocally” back a public vote.
The move intensifies pressure on Mr Corbyn to move quickly, after senior Labour figures indicated that the party was ready to table repeated no-confidence challenges to Mrs May after yesterday’s vote did not succeed in ousting her.
A motion passed at the party’s conference last autumn made clear that a general election is Labour’s priority, but stated that if this was not possible, the party would “support all options remaining on the table, including campaigning for a public vote”.
Tottenham MP David Lammy said of Mr Corbyn: “If he vacillates and sits on the fence, I’m afraid he is going to get splinters in places he doesn’t want.”