Motion of no confidence

Statement or vote about whether someone in a position of power is still fit to hold it

There are a number of variations in this procedure between parliaments. In some countries, a motion of no confidence can be directed at the government collectively or at any individual member, including the prime minister. Sometimes, motions of no confidence are proposed even though they have no likelihood of passage simply to pressure a government or to embarrass its own critics, who may for political reasons decide not to vote against it.

In many parliamentary democracies, there are strict time limits for no-confidence motions such as being allowed only once every three, four, or six months. Thus, the timing of a motion of no confidence is a matter of political judgment. A motion of no confidence on a relatively trivial matter may then prove counterproductive if a more important issue suddenly arises that actually warrants a motion of no confidence. Sometimes, the government chooses to declare that one of its bills is a "motion of confidence" to prevent dissident members of its own party from voting against it.

Lee Siew Choh tabled another motion of no-confidence against Lee Kuan Yew's government on 15 June 1963 over issues regarding the proposed merger of Singapore into the Federation of Malaysia. 5 members were absent from the Assembly and 1 seat was vacant bringing the total membership down to 45 present and voting. This time, Lee Kuan Yew's Government won the vote by a margin of 23-16. The results are as follows:

In September 1963, the Legislative Assembly was dissolved and fresh elections were called. The rump PAP won the election with a two-thirds majority therefore staving off any further attempts by the Barisan Sosialis to move further motions of no-confidence. Following merger and separation (1963-1965), and with Barisan's boycott of Parliament, the PAP was the dominant party in Parliament and motions of no-confidence became "rare", in fact "non-existent". Further, Lee Kuan Yew's 1961 motion of confidence remains the only time that a Singaporean Prime Minister has ever tabled a motion of confidence in his own government.

Under the principle of negative parliamentarism, a prime ministerial candidate nominated by the Speaker does not need the confidence of a majority of MPs to be elected. However, a majority of MPs must not vote against the candidate, which renders prime ministerial votes similar to no-confidence votes. That means that a prime ministerial candidate, to be successful in the parliamentary vote, must have at least a total of 175 votes in favour and/or abstention. If a Speaker fails four times to have a nominee elected, an election must be held within three months of the final vote.

During the early 19th century, attempts by prime ministers, such as Robert Peel, to govern in the absence of a parliamentary majority proved unsuccessful, and by the mid-19th century, the power of a motion of no confidence to break a government was firmly established in the UK.