Jo Swinson urges Jeremy Corbyn to ditch PM plan ahead of no-deal Brexit 'tactics' meeting

Posted On: 
22nd August 2019

The Liberal Democrats have doubled down on their opposition to Jeremy Corbyn becoming Prime Minister, as the party's leader agreed to a meeting to discuss the "tactics" of blocking a no-deal Brexit.

Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn

Jo Swinson said the Labour leader "must be open to options other than his plan to become Prime Minister" after a bitter row over his call to head up a short-lived unity government aimed at delaying the Brexit process and calling an election.

In a letter to Ms Swinson as well as key figures from the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, Change UK and the Conservative backbenches, Mr Corbyn warned that the country was "heading into a constitutional and political storm" and urged the other MPs to "do everything we can to stop it".

Len McCluskey accuses Jo Swinson of 'playground politics' as row over unity government call deepens

Jo Swinson agrees to no-deal Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn after snubbing unity government plan

Jo Swinson says Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman should lead unity government instead of Jeremy Corbyn

Proposing a meeting for next Tuesday, the Labour leader said he wanted to discuss "all tactics available to prevent" Britain leaving the EU without a deal.

He said: "The chaos and dislocation of Boris Johnson’s No Deal Brexit is real and threatening, as the government’s leaked Operation Yellowhammer dossier makes crystal clear. That’s why we must do everything we can to stop it."

But Ms Swinson, who last week rebuffed the call to back Mr Corbyn as a caretaker Prime Minister and instead proposed Conservative and Labour grandees Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman about, made clear that she continued to oppose that plan.

She said: "The Liberal Democrats have been working with others for years in the national interest, because we know that together we can stop Brexit. I look forward to meeting with other leaders to discuss how we can stop the disastrous consequences of no-deal.

But she warned: "We must focus on workable options that can actually stop no-deal Brexit, because we do not have time to waste. If Jeremy Corbyn truly wants to stop no-deal, then he must be open to options other than his plan to become Prime Minister and I look forward to hearing about the different options he is willing to explore."

The SNP meanwhile said MPs should "take every step" necessary to block a "devastating" no-deal Brexit, with the party's Westminster leader hinting that his MPs could back Mr Corbyn's plan.

"All options must be on the table," Ian Blackford said.

"The SNP stands ready to pursue every avenue, including passing legislation to block no-deal and a vote of no confidence in the Tory government."