THE SNP have dropped plans to put down a motion of no confidence in the Conservative government this week amid concerns the move could backfire, The National has learnt.

Ian Blackford, the party’s Westminster leader, threw down a challenge to Labour on Tuesday, saying if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn did not take action to oust the Tories from power then he would.

However, sources have said the SNP will not act immediately but could make a move once Theresa May returns from the European Council summit with no substantial changes to her deal. With the Prime Minister beating a no-confidence vote among her own MPs last night, SNP insiders fear she would also win a confidence vote put down by them.

“The situation is being kept under review,” said one SNP source. “We are not doing anything today. The focus is on what the Tories do. So we’ll see what happens next.”

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The party insider added: “The Tories were spinning it and trying to make out the vote would be close. But there was a feeling it was never going to be close.

“People I spoke to were saying the number of votes against her would be between 70 and 100 tops.

“The Tories will spin this as a surprise result – that she did far better than expected. A great result for them. The story hitting the front pages will be that she is sent off to Brussels having crushed the dissenters in her party.

“Our focus now is to shift to Monday when she comes back. So if she comes back from Brussels with nothing or with some changes but nothing of substance, it could be game on again.”

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Under parliamentary rules a min-ority opposition party can table a no-confidence motion in the government, but it wouldn’t have a prior right to precedence over fixedbusiness, and government business takes precedence.

There is no bar to the SNP putting a motion on the future business of the order paper, but to have it on the effective order paper it would require permission from the government.

The process of tabling a confidence motion and getting it heard is more straightforward for Labour who, as the official opposition, would have greater influence over getting the motion debated.

Unlike the Tory party process, where MPs cannot table a second confidence motion in their leader for 12 months, there is no bar on the number of attempts that can be made within a certain period in the Commons. However, if a motion no confidence put down by an opposition party in the government fails, the government could argue there would be no justification for a second motion being heard.

Labour’s view is that the party will put down a motion of no confidence when they judge it most likely to be successful. This is expected to be once the Brexit deal returns to the Commons for a vote.