Lib Dems reject plan to make Jeremy Corbyn PM to block no-deal Brexit as 'nonsense'

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Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has rejected Jeremy Corbyns plan to install himself as a caretaker PM to stop a no-deal Brexit .

The Labour leader set out plans to defeat Mr Johnson in a confidence vote when MPs return from their summer break.

But Ms Swinson was quick to dismiss the idea, which would involve a “strictly time-limited” Labour administration until a general election, saying Mr Corbyn was not the right man for the job.

” Jeremy Corbyn is not the person who is going to be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task – I would expect there are people in his own party and indeed the necessary Conservative backbenchers who would be unwilling to support him,” she said.

“It is a nonsense.”

Her strong rejection of the plan despite an earlier call to put “tribalism” aside after a meeting with Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson.

Jeremy Corbyn defended the plan

In a clip released this morning the leader of the opposition hit back saying: “Under all normal parliamentary process in Britain, the leader of the opposition takes over when the government collapses, so that seems to me absolutely in line with all the norms of the unwritten British constitution,” he said.

“We, the Labour Party, by far the largest opposition party, have, I think, a responsibility to take over, to ensure there is no cliff-edge Brexit.”

 

In a letter to fellow Opposition party leaders – and some senior Tory backbenchers committed to thwarting no-deal – he vowed to enter No10 for a “strictly time-limited” period, delay Brexit and trigger a General Election.

He also said he would campaign for a second EU referendum with the option of Remaining in the EU.

The Labour leader wrote: “Following a successful vote of no confidence in the Government, I would then, as Leader of the Opposition, seek the confidence of the House for a strictly time-limited temporary government with the aim of calling a General Election, and securing the necessary extension of Article 50 to do so.

“In that General Election, Labour will be committed to a public vote on the terms of leaving the European Union, including an option to Remain.”

It comes amid persistent fears of a chaotic and damaging no-deal Brexit under the Prime Minister’s “do or die” commitment to leave the EU by the deadline.

 

There was cautious support from Plaid Cymru, with Liz Saville Roberts saying the party was open to a unity government regardless of who leads it, but that it must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority.

The SNP’s Ian Blackford welcomed the Labour leader’s letter as he said the party would bring down the Tories in a no-confidence vote, while Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, another recipient of the letter, also said she would back a no-confidence vote but said she wanted Mr Corbyn to guarantee Labour’s support for another MP to lead a temporary Government if his bid to govern fails.

Green leader Caroline Lucas said: We absolutely support and welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a vote of no-confidence in order to avoid the catastrophe of the so-called ‘No Deal’.  Preventing a crash-out Brexit on the 31st October was what lay behind my proposal earlier this week.

Caroline Lucas welcomed the idea

She added: “I would back a vote of no-confidence if Jeremy Corbyn calls it, but what I ask him to do is to guarantee that if he fails to win the confidence of the House, even for a time-limited temporary Government, that he would commit to supporting an MP who can do that, then deliver the crucial letter to the EU asking for an extension of Article 50, then a People’s Vote.

“After that is the time to hold an election, when voters can make the choice about their representatives to take the UK forward, dealing with the pressing issues within our country.”

Meanwhile, Change UK leader Anna Soubry expressed her disappointment that she had not been included in the letter and branded Mr Corbyn’s plan a “stunt”.

“Our exclusion and the preference for a General Election rather than an immediate People’s Vote leads me to conclude this is nothing more than a stunt,” she said.

“Our country faces a very serious political and constitutional crisis and important decisions must be taken. I have argued for a genuine Government of National Unity led by someone who commands respect and support not just in his or her own party but in all parties.

“Jeremy Corbyn is not that person given he struggles to maintain the confidence of his own back benchers.”

Independent MP Gavin Shuker said there would be no majority in Parliament for a Government led by Mr Corbyn.

Anna Soubry also rejected the idea

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He said: “Not for a minute, an hour, a day. More cynical games from him.”

“Under another Labour figure, it’s possible.”

Conservative MP James Cleverly claimed “dozens” of Labour MPs were “horrified” by the idea of Mr Corbyn in Number 10.

“They’ve told me, surely they must have told him too. Surely,” he said on Twitter .

Fellow Tory MP Julian Knight said “literally anyone” would be more suitable for the job.

But loyal Labour politicians gave their backing to the plan, saying it was the best way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

“Jeremy has offered the surest way to prevent a No Deal Brexit . Any opposition party leader or MP rejecting this offer will carry the responsibility for allowing a No Deal disaster and will never be forgiven,” said shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Dawn Butler called it a “sensible plan”, adding: “We should not fear letting the people decide the future of our country.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon attacked the Lib Dems for rejecting the proposal.

Writing on Twitter, he said: “Morally and logically unsustainable for the Lib Dems to put Cameron into power to create the mess the country is in & then block Corbyn from getting the country out of that mess. That would complete a decade of shame for the Lib Dems.

“Not too late for them to do the right thing.”



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