Historical numbers for comparing the Brexit vote

Here are some statistics that give context and historical background to today’s Commons vote:

166. This is the size of the largest government defeat on the floor of the House of Commons in modern times. It occurred on October 8 1924, when the minority Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald lost a vote by 364 votes to 198.

The vote was on an amendment put forward by the Liberal Party to set up a select committee to investigate the Government’s decision to drop criminal proceedings against JR Campbell, editor of the Communist newspaper Workers Weekly, which had recently published an article encouraging the armed forces to mutiny.

POLITICS Brexit Defeats
POLITICS Brexit Defeats

89. This is the largest government defeat under 100 in modern times. It took took place on March 22 1979, in the last few weeks of the Labour government led by Jim Callaghan. MPs voted on a motion to annul the fees for a firearms certificate – although the numbers taking part were low, the Government lost by 115 to 26.

86. This was the largest post-war defeat where at least 50% of the Commons voted. It happened on January 25 1978 to Mr Callaghan’s government, when MPs voted by 204 to 118 on an opposition amendment to the Scotland Devolution Bill, which excluded Orkney and Shetland from the provisions of the Bill if they voted “no” in a referendum.

139. The largest rebellion in modern British politics to date. On March 18 2003, 139 Labour MPs defied prime minister Tony Blair and voted against war in Iraq. According to Professor Philip Cowley of Queen Mary University of London, it remains the greatest revolt by MPs of any party since the repeal of the Corn Laws in the 1840s.

95. The largest Conservative rebellion of modern British politics. It took place in 1997, when nearly 100 Conservative MPs defied prime minister John Major and voted against gun controls introduced in response to the Dunblane shooting.

1979. This is the last time a government was defeated on a confidence motion. The Labour government led by Jim Callaghan lost the opposition motion on March 28 1979 by just one vote, 311 to 310. Mr Callaghan immediately announced a dissolution of parliament and a general election, which was subsequently won by the Conservatives.

POLITICS Brexit Confidence
POLITICS Brexit Confidence

1993. The last time a confidence motion was formally tabled in the House of Commons. On July 23 1993, the Conservative government of John Major tabled a motion of confidence in itself, to shore up support following its defeat the previous day on the Maastricht Treaty Social Chapter. The government won the motion 339 to 299.

3. The number of times since 1900 a government has lost a vote of confidence: twice in 1924 and once in 1979.