Corbynites take aim at Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson as she snubs plot

Corbynites take aim at Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson as she snubs plot to get Labour leader into Downing Street

  • Jeremy Corbyn is asking rival MPs to back him as a caretaker Prime Minister if Boris Johnson is forced out
  • Several rebel Tories are backing him in a bid to halt a No Deal exit from the EU
  • However, Jo Swinson has stated she will not endorse him as UK’s leader and branded the scheme ‘nonsense’ 

Jo Swinson has refused to endorse Jeremy Corbyn as caretaker Prime Minister if Boris Johnson is forced out

Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters turned their guns on Jo Swinson last night after she refused to endorse him as a caretaker prime minister.

The new Liberal Democrat leader said she didn’t believe Mr Corbyn was capable of commanding the confidence of the Commons in a ‘unity’ government to stop a No Deal Brexit.

It came after Mr Corbyn sent her and other opposition leaders an extraordinary written plea on Wednesday night in which he asked for their help to install him in Number 10.

The plan appeared dead on arrival when Miss Swinson described it as ‘nonsense’. But she came under pressure last night from both SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn’s grassroots support group Momentum led an aggressive social media campaign, urging people to sign a petition demanding the Liberal Democrats back Labour’s plan.

The group tweeted: ‘Jo Swinson claims to be the biggest opponent of No Deal yet she’s putting party politics first and refusing to work with Corbyn.’ A Lib Dem source described it as ‘coordinated mudslinging’.

However, last night Miss Swinson appeared to soften her stance to Mr Corbyn, agreeing to meet with him to discuss the issue.

But she refused to endorse him as prime minister, proposing Labour’s Harriet Harman or Tory veteran Ken Clarke as a caretaker leader because they are ‘respected on both sides of the House’.

She told him: ‘This isn’t the time for personal agendas and political games. We cannot allow party politics to stand in the way of members from all sides of the House of Commons working together in the national interest.’

Mr Corbyn’s plan, which Conservative MPs branded a desperate coup, will not succeed without the support of the Lib Dems, who have 14 MPs after the defection of former Tory Sarah Wollaston.

In her first major speech as leader yesterday in London, Miss Swinson said Mr Corbyn had ‘let the Government off the hook’ over Brexit.

She accused him of ‘demanding the keys to No 10 as a precondition of stopping No Deal’, adding: ‘There is no way he can unite rebel Conservatives and Independents to stop Boris Johnson. It is not even certain he would secure all the votes of Labour MPs.’

However, Dr Wollaston suggested a temporary Corbyn-led government would be ‘the lesser of two evils’.

Mr Corbyn tweeted yesterday: ‘We must work together to stop No Deal and let the people decide the future of our country.’

Labour business spokesman Rebecca Long-Bailey also told Miss Swinson that a Corbyn caretaker government was ‘the simplest and most democratic way’ of avoiding No Deal.

 

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