Corbyn says ‘it’s not up to Jo Swinson to decide who is PM’ amid leadership row

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Jeremy Corbyn has struck out at Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson after she rejected his plan to lead an emergency government to thwart a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour leader said: “It’s not up to Jo Swinson to decide who the next prime minister is going to be” after she rejected his proposal to force a general election.

Ms Swinson was under increasing pressure to back Mr Corbyn’s suggestion that included forcing out Boris Johnson in a vote of no confidence and securing an extension to the Brexit deadline beyond October 31.

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But she maintained her stance that he was not the right politician for the job, despite agreeing to meet with him to discuss a no-deal prevention plan.

On Friday, Mr Corbyn told the PA news agency: “It’s not up to Jo Swinson to choose candidates, it’s not up to Jo Swinson to decide who the next prime minister is going to be.

“Surely she must recognise she is a leader of one of the opposition parties who are apparently opposed to this Government, and apparently prepared to support a motion of no confidence.

“I look forward to joining her in the lobbies to vote this Government down.”

Ken Clarke
Ken Clarke (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Ms Swinson has instead tipped Tory grandee Ken Clarke and senior Labour MP Harriet Harman to lead the emergency government.

She said she has spoken to the pair – who are Father and Mother of the House – and won their assurances that they are ready to “put public duty first” to “stop us driving off that cliff”.

However, Mr Corbyn’s plan has won the potential backing of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and Tory MP Guto Bebb.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was among those applying pressure to Ms Swinson to re-think her position.

Harriet Harman (VIctoria Jones/PA)

Senior Remain-supporting Tories Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Letwin, as well as independent MP Nick Boles, have also agreed to meet Mr Corbyn.

Yet despite the deadline looming, the Prime Minister has refused to meet the bloc’s leaders for discussions on a new deal unless they agree to scrap the Irish backstop.

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  • Show Comments
    1. The present Cabinet has added purulence to that going before it to such extent the boil looks set to burst. Are there sufficient people of honour remaining in Parliament to lance this excrescence and drain it before the UK descends into chaos and/or servitude to the USA?

      Mr Corbyn has offered leadership away from the mess. He has not proposed a Labour government and Labour legislative agenda: one issue, one alone, requires rapid resolution; thereafter at a general election people may decide on a government fit to take matters forward.

      Liberal-democrats and others making objection based on personal dislike of Mr Corbyn are digging a pit for themselves and everyone else. They stand to be mentioned as reviled when they gain their places in a footnote to history.

    2. I’ve heard it said when the Liberal Party was formed in the late 19th century to challenge the Conservative Party what they meant by liberal was freedom for capital not people. Working-class people at that time had no political representation, unlike capital which had Conservatives and Liberals competing to serve it.

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