LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn convened a meeting yesterday with opposition MPs from the Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, Greens, Plaid Cymru and Change UK ‘independents’ including ex-Tory Remainers like Anna Soubry.
The alliance was brought together with the sole aim of scuppering Brexit, and agreed to try to block a no-deal Brexit by passing legislation in Parliament.
The Labour leader invited five Tory MPs opposed to a no-deal exit, but none attended.
Corbyn has agreed to work with opposition leaders to prioritise opposing a no-deal Brexit using legislation, with a no-confidence vote in the government reserved as a last resort.
Corbyn had said his preferred option is to block no-deal via a no-confidence vote in the government. Under his plan, he would replace Tory PM Johnson as an interim PM, of a ‘caretaker’ government, then call a snap election and campaign for another referendum in which remaining in the EU would be ‘an option’.
A joint statement was then issued by the Labour Party, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Independent Group for Change following yesterday morning’s meeting.
It said: ‘The leaders of the opposition parties held a productive and detailed meeting on stopping a disastrous no-deal exit from the EU.
‘Jeremy Corbyn outlined the legal advice he has received from shadow attorney general, Shami Chakrabarti, which calls Boris Johnson’s plans to suspend parliament to force through a no-deal “the gravest abuse of power and attack upon UK constitutional principle in living memory.”
‘The attendees agreed that Boris Johnson has shown himself open to using anti-democratic means to force through no-deal.
‘The attendees agreed on the urgency to act together to find practical ways to prevent no-deal, including the possibility of passing legislation and a vote of no confidence.
‘The party leaders agreed to further meetings.’
The Liberal Democrats, and some potential Tory allies opposed to a no-deal exit, have indicated they won’t back a plan that leads to Corbyn in No 10.
Ahead of the meeting, Lib Dems leader Jo Swinson told BBC Breakfast a plan involving Corbyn as interim leader was less likely to succeed.
After ysterday’s meeting Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: ‘Our view is straightforwardly that Parliament should decide this matter.
‘It should have the right to meet and that is why many of us did support the re-call of Parliament, it should ensure that there is proper debate of the issue and then Parliament should eventually decide.
‘We are hoping that by the work that we are doing together, to ensure that we can achieve the most appropriate Parliamentary mechanism to prevent a ‘no deal’ and to ensure that yes, the democratic wishes we believe of Parliament itself should be adhered to.
‘I will just give this warning to Boris Johnson. You know Prime Ministers come and Prime Ministers go.
‘But actually I do not think that we have ever seen a Prime Minister like this who has the potential to threaten the very nature of our democracy.’
Meanwhile, after convening yesterday’s meeting with the leaders of the opposition parties, Corbyn wrote to 116 Conservative or independent MPs who voted against a no-deal exit from the European Union, offering to work with them to prevent a no-deal outcome.
Recipients of the letter include several former government ministers, such as ex-PM Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Greg Clark.