Jeremy Corbyn forced to ditch confidence vote as opposition leaders agree moves to thwart no-deal

Posted On: 
27th August 2019

Jeremy Corbyn has been forced to abandon plans to table a motion of no confidence in Boris Johnson's government as opposition parties agreed a new strategy to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn agreed to the new approach after his proposals to be installed as a caretaker PM were dismissed
Credit: 
PA

Following talks in the Labour leader's Commons office, senior figures from the SNP, Lib Dems, Greens and Plaid Cymru said they would instead prioritise "legislative" moves to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a Withdrawal Agreement in place.

Mr Corbyn had previously said that the best way to prevent no-deal was to pass a motion of no confidence in the Government and install him as caretaker Prime Minister.

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But that plan collapsed after the Lib Dems and anti-no deal Tories said they could not support putting him into Number 10.

In a joint statement following Tuesday's talks, the leaders of the five parties said they would act with "urgency" to find a legislative way to stop Boris Johnson from forcing through a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

However, they said they would keep the option of a vote of no confidence on the table if that failed.

It is understood that the most likely option is an emergency debate when Parliament returns from its summer recess next week, followed by the introduction of a law which would force the Prime Minister to seek another Brexit delay.

The senior MPs are now set to hold further meetings over the next two days to thrash out the details of how they will trigger a Commons showdown.

The joint statement said: "The leaders of the opposition parties held a productive and detailed meeting on stopping a disastrous No Deal exit from the EU," they wrote.

"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."

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Swinson said the "very positive" session had placed the legislative approach at the front of the group's plans.

She added that a vote of no confidence "remains a last resort, if you like, to be able to enforce the will of Parliament, but the main proposal is going down the legislative route".

Meanwhile, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the group had committed "to work together effectively to prevent a catastrophic no-deal".

He added: "Parliament must grasp this opportunity, unite to stop Boris Johnson shutting down democracy - and be ready to use all mechanisms to block a no-deal disaster, including deploying legislation as a priority."

The agreement comes after Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage suggested he would be willing to enter a "non-aggression pact" with Boris Johnson's party in any up-coming general election, to help build a majority for a "clean-break Brexit".

In a swipe at the "out of touch" opposition group, he added: "The truth of it is the Remain side may have lots of political parties, but for the Leave side, a Johnson government committed to doing the right thing and the Brexit Party working in tandem would be unstoppable, would deliver a big parliamentary majority and would let this country free."