Tom Watson tells Jeremy Corbyn he must work with Lib Dems to stop no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
14th August 2019

Labour will be "stronger together" if it works with the Liberal Democrats to stop a no-deal Brexit, Tom Watson has declared.

Tom Watson and Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson.

Speaking during a joint event with Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, the Labour deputy leader said leaving the EU without a deal would do "dreadful damage" to the UK.

And he called on all parties opposed to such an outcome to set aside their differences and "work together".

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Ms Swinson has previously hit out at Jeremy Corbyn, saying there was "nothing to suggest" he could be trusted on Brexit and ruling out a pact between the two parties while he remains Labour leader. Labour meanwhile branded the Lib Dem chief "childish" for tabling her own symbolic motion of no-confidence in Mr Johnson before the summer Parliamentary recess. 

But Mr Watson told the event, organised by the anti-Brexit youth groups For our Future’s Sake and Our Future Our Choice, that he could not "tolerate an undemocratic and disastrous no-deal being forced on the country by Boris Johnson".

And the Labour deputy said of the PM: "To stop him, everyone who cares about democracy, our country and our future must work together because there are enough of us – from all parties in Parliament – to stop him.

"First, that means working together to stop no-deal for which there is no majority in either Parliament or the country. 

"We can’t allow dirty tricks that would for example see the UK crash out of Europe with no deal during an election campaign. 

"Second, it means working together to make sure - whether it’s before an election or afterwards - we solve this Brexit crisis with more democracy, not less democracy, by having a final say referendum so that all the people have their voice heard.

"Whether you’re Liberal Democrats, social democrats or democratic socialists, we are all democrats. And democrats have got to realise in this crisis that we’re stronger together if we work together."

Ms Swinson meanwhile told the same event that Brexit had become a "national humiliation" with the "risk of a disastrous no-deal" now "greater than ever".

She said: "Boris Johnson and his cabinet are now actively pursuing that dangerous path, and I am committed to working with others across party lines in Parliament to stop no-deal Brexit. 

"This is no time for tribalism. That is why I am pleased to be here today with Tom to show that there is a desire across the political spectrum to stop Boris Johnson’s reckless no-deal Brexit plan and instead deliver a brighter future inside the EU."

The pair's comments came as Commons Speaker John Bercow promised to "fight with every breath in my body" to prevent the new Prime Minister from proroguing Parliament in order to achieve a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Bercow told an audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival that the House of Commons "must have its way" on the issue.