LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn risks jeopardising a vote of no confidence in the government by insisting he becomes caretaker PM, Lib Dems leader Jo Swinson insisted yesterday in a new letter.
If he wins a no-confidence vote, the Labour leader plans to form an emergency government that will refuse to carry out a ‘no deal Brexit’.
In her letter, Swinson said Corbyn’s insistence on being interim leader meant there was a danger not enough MPs would support the vote.
Tory Prime Minister Johnson has repeatedly insisted that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October, with or without a deal.
Ahead of today’s cross-party talks on how to avoid no deal, Swinson insisted: ‘The discussions should examine how to seize control of Commons business, oust Johnson and install an emergency “government of national unity”.’
In her letter to Corbyn, Swinson wrote: ‘You have previously said that you would seek to negotiate a Labour Brexit if in power, and Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell recently suggested that Labour could remain neutral in a future People’s Vote.
‘It would be appreciated by Remain voters across the country that both your personal and your party’s position could be clarified in these discussions.’
Speaking ahead of the meeting Swinson said: ‘We cannot allow party politics to stand in the way of finding a solution that works to prevent the national crisis approaching us.
‘The Liberal Democrats stand ready to do everything we can to prevent not only a No Deal Brexit, but to stop Brexit altogether.’
She added in her letter: ‘Insisting you lead that emergency government will therefore jeopardise the chances of a no confidence vote gaining enough support to pass in the first place.
‘As you have said that you would do anything to avoid no deal, I hope you are open to a discussion about how conceding this point may open the door to a no-confidence vote succeeding. Its success must be the priority.’
Earlier this month, Corbyn outlined his plans to avert a no-deal Brexit – which involve him becoming a caretaker prime minister – but was met with resistance from some key potential allies.
Swinson and Conservatives opposed to no deal were among those-who rejected the idea of Corbyn being interim leader, but Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon criticised the Lib Dem leader’s stance, adding that ‘nothing should be ruled out’.
Corbyn said he would call a no-confidence vote at the ‘earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success’. That cannot happen before 3rd September when MPs return from the summer recess.
In order for such a vote to succeed, Labour would require support from across the House of Commons, including the Lib Dems, the SNP and Conservative rebels.
The SNP, Liberal Democrats, Change UK, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party have all accepted the invitation to meet Corbyn to discuss proposals for an alternative government to be formed when Parliament returns in September.
Labour’s Barry Gardiner told Sophy Ridge on Sky News on Sunday Labour was offering a ‘failsafe procedure to stop no deal’ by holding a vote of no confidence followed by a temporary government to set up a general election.