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Tue, 7 July 2020

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SNP's Ian Blackford tells Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to 'step out of the sandpit' and bring down Boris Johnson

SNP's Ian Blackford tells Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to 'step out of the sandpit' and bring down Boris Johnson
3 min read

Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson should "step out of the sandpit" and focus on bringing down Boris Johnson's government, the SNP's Ian Blackford has declared.


The party's Westminster leader urged the Labour and Liberal Democrat bosses - who have been at loggerheads over who would become Prime Minister if Mr Johnson's administration falls - to "step up to the job".

And he warned both parties against "propping up a Tory government" - as he confirmed that the SNP had prepared a vote of no confidence in the PM.

The address to the SNP's annual conference in Aberdeen comes after weeks of talks between the opposition parties aimed at halting a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

Labour and the Lib Dems have disagreed over who would head up any "unity" government if they can succeed in bringing down Mr Johnson.

Mr Corbyn has urged the other parties to get behind him in a "time-limited" administration aimed at extending Article 50 and calling an election.

But Ms Swinson has called for a senior backbencher such as Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman to take on the job - prompting an increasingly bitter war of words between the two parties.

The SNP has meanwhile said it would be willing to back Mr Corbyn in Number 10, but has suggested it would demand the power to call a second Scottish independence referendum in exchange for that support.

Mr Blackford told the SNP conference there was "no more time for squabbles or putting party or personal ambition before country".

"We have a job to do and people in Scotland expect us to do it," he said.

"So, my clear message to Labour and the Lib Dems is this: the SNP is not in the business of propping up a Tory government - nor should you be."

He added: "We must take the power out of Boris Johnson’s hands - and put it back in the hands of the people. 

"So I can announce today - the SNP has prepared a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson and this Tory government.

"We will not play Boris Johnson’s games and give in to his demands."

And, in a direct attack on the Labour and Lib Dem leaders, Mr Blackford said: "It’s time for Jeremy Cobryn and Jo Swinson to step out of the sand pit and step up to the job.

"So let’s come together – back a vote of no confidence – get rid of Boris Johnson, secure that extension and give power back to the people with a general election."

The intervention comes ahead of crucial week in the Commons for Mr Johnson, with a Queen's Speech spelling out his agenda unveiled on Monday and a possible vote on any Brexit agreement he strikes taking place in a special session on Saturday.

Mr Blackford said: "If this Queen’s Speech ever comes to a vote, then the SNP will vote it down."

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