LABOUR moved a step closer to forming a national government yesterday with the Scottish and Welsh nationalists, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all meeting at Jeremy Corbyn’s office in Westminster with the sole purpose of plotting ways and means of stopping Brexit and Remaining in the European Union.
The plan, hatched by arch Remainer and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was to force the PM to seek a Brexit extension as early as this weekend, however the others did not agree.
The Scottish nationalists want a no confidence vote straight away and the Welsh nationalists are considering ‘pursuing impeachment’. They say that the Supreme Court ruling that Johnson’s prorogation was ‘unlawful’ is grounds for impeachment.
The opposition parties do not even agree that such a national government would have Jeremy Corbyn as a ‘caretaker’ leader and the meeting broke up without any agreement.
The only thing that they could agree on is that they would not put down a vote of no confidence in Johnson this week.
After the meeting Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat leader said: ‘We will be meeting this week to look at different options, different scenarios, including the possibility of an insurance option … of a government of national unity and including who might be able to lead such a government.’
Labour leader Corbyn said the parties were ‘absolutely clear we will do all we can within a Parliamentary scenario and within our own parties to prevent this country crashing out on the 31st October without a deal – that is what is our agreed position.’
Ian Blackford, of the Scottish Nationalists said: ‘I want a vote of no confidence and I want the other parties to come with us. If those opposition leaders which put the Benn Act (That forces Johnson to ask the EU for a further Brexit extension), that voted to stop no deal at the end of October, come together, recognise the responsibilities of leadership then we can stop Boris Johnson, so we are going to carry on talking, we are going to carry on meeting this week.’
The Tory Chancellor Sajid Javid, on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday said that the government were prepared to leave the EU on 31 October, despite the law aimed at avoiding it.
The law, known as the Benn act, forces the government to ask for an extension to the Brexit deadline if a deal is not agreed by 19 October, the day after a two-day EU summit.
Sajid Javid said that ‘every government should observe all laws at all times,’ adding: ‘We’re taking a careful look at that law.’
‘We’re also very clear that our policy has not changed. We will leave on October 31,’ he said.
‘And if you are going to ask me next, how we going to do that? We’re not going to set that out right now.’
Javid said there could be no more ‘dither and delay and we will leave if we have to without a deal on October 31.’
When asked if he knew how the government would be able to bypass the Benn act, he said: ‘I think I do.
‘The intention of the law is clear and I do think it has absolutely made it harder for the government to get the deal that we all want to see. That said, it can still be done.’