New Times,
New Thinking.

Sylvia Hermon will always back the government in confidence votes. Here’s why that matters

The independent unionist MP for North Down says she will never vote to let Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street, meaning Labour must convince a Tory MP in her place.

By Patrick Maguire

Sylvia Hermon, the independent unionist MP for North Down, will back the government in this evening’s vote of no confidence, the New Statesman has learned.

Hermon – the only sitting MP for Northern Ireland who is not a member of the DUP – voted for the Withdrawal Agreement last night, and confirmed to the NS that she would vote against Labour’s motion.

“I will be voting in support of the government tonight,” she said. “I will not be assisting Mr Corbyn in being given the keys to No10.”

Unlike her DUP neighbours, Hermon is clear that there are no circumstances in which she could support or facilitate the election of a government led by Jeremy Corbyn. 

Given Labour’s plans to table multiple motions of no confidence in the hope of eventually succeeding, Hermon’s unconditional opposition matters. The opposition is playing a game of fine margins and will need to peel off the DUP and Tory Brexiteers if it is to succeed. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

With Hermon guaranteeing the Conservatives an extra vote, Labour would accordingly have to convince another Tory. That’s to say nothing of the risk that ex-Labour independents who believe a Corbyn premiership to be beyond the pale could vote the other way. Even in an optimistic scenario that sees the DUP abandon the Tories or abstain, the opposition’s job is still harder that it looks.

Content from our partners
We need an urgent review of UK pensions
The future of private credit
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors