Labour is preparing the ground to table a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson’s government once parliament returns in early September, Diane Abbott has indicated.

The shadow home secretary – a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn – said while it was above her “pay grade” to confirm plans, she added Labour will engage with the other parties at Westminster in the coming weeks to see if the required numbers were there.

It comes as Labour is expected to convene a special meeting of its shadow cabinet the day before parliament returns to discuss the party’s next moves and general election strategy.

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In recent months, some Conservatives have publicly confirmed they are willing to vote with Labour – against their own government – as a last resort in preventing a no-deal exit from the European Union. 

Under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act, if a motion of no confidence is passed in the government a 14-day period would then be triggered in which MPs could attempt to pass a confidence motion in a government. Failing this, a general election would follow.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Ms Abbott said it was above her “pay grade” to say when Labour will move the vote of no confidence against Mr Johnson’s administration.

But she continued: “Who has confidence in Boris Johnson apart from the people around him?

“The more he announces these bogus unfunded announcements, I think the less confidence there will be in him in the general public.

Pressed again on whether it would tabled at the earliest possible opportunity when parliament returns after the summer recess, she replied: “It’s above my pay grade. But it has to be an option.” 

Told the motion has to be moved soon in time to stop Brexit, Ms Abbott added: “Yes it does. But one of the things we have to do is consult with other parties – it’s no good moving a vote of no confidence if the Lib Dems, for instance, are not going to vote for it.

“We are talking to all of the other parties in parliament and if we move for a vote of no confidence we’ll want to do it with confidence that we can win it.”

Pressed on the prospect of moving a confidence motion last month, Mr Corbyn said: “Parliament goes back in September, and I think it’s at that point we’ll look at the situation here.

“But it’s also up to the prime minister what he decides to do as well because if he’s trying to take us out on a no-deal Brexit at the end of October, we’ll oppose it.

“I guarantee this: we’ll do everything to prevent a no-deal Brexit, we’ll do everything to challenge this government and we’ll do it at a time of our choosing.”

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