Speaking at the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) Conference on 28 November 2021, Ian Blackford, the Party’s Westminster Leader, announced that “On Tuesday, the SNP will use our opposition day to put down a motion of censure against this Prime Minister”.

The SNP’s motion states:

That this House censures the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, for frequently violating the sixth Principle of Public Life, for seeking to undermine the recommendations of the Standards Committee on Owen Paterson, for regularly ignoring independent advice on matters such as international treaties and breaches of the Ministerial Code by his ministers, for putting forward proposals to diminish the powers of the Electoral Commission, for ignoring independent advice concerning the granting of peerages to Conservative party donors and nominations to public bodies such as Ofcom; and further calls for his ministerial salary to be reduced by £41,567 per year.

What is a censure motion?

Censure motions are a type of motion that seek to criticise the behaviour of the Government, in relation to a single minister, in relation to a specific Government policy, or to express explicitly no confidence in the Government.

Consequently, the terms censure motions and no confidence motions are often used interchangeably. However, the parliamentary procedure textbook Griffith and Ryle on Parliament notes that “Many motions tabled on opposition days censure the government in highly critical terms, but do not count as censure motions”.

The Library briefing Confidence Motions provides some background information on motions of censure generally, although its main focus is on questions of confidence/no confidence in the Government.

Seven Principles of Public Life

The Committee on Standards in Public Life’s Seven Principles of Public Life are:

  1. Selflessness
  2. Integrity
  3. Objectivity
  4. Accountability
  5. Openness
  6. Honesty
  7. Leadership

Ministerial salaries

The claimed salary (206KB, PDF) of the Prime Minister is £75,440 per annum (in addition to his MP’s salary of £81,932). The Prime Minister’s ministerial salary has been frozen at £75,440 since 1 April 2014.

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