LIBERAL Democrat MP Sarah Wollaston revealed the two MPs who are “acceptable figures” for the Opposition to “rally around”, following Jeremy Corbyn’s latest attempt to gain cross-party support and delay Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn is hatching a plot to seize power from Boris Johnson and delay Brexit, with the Labour leader writing to the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and rebel Tories to ask for their support. However, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson quickly dismissed the idea, which would involve a “strictly time-limited” Labour administration until a general election, saying Mr Corbyn was not the right man for the job. Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Wollaston named two politicians that opposition MPs would “rally around” instead of Mr Corbyn.
BBC Radio 4 Today Programme host Sarah Smith asked: “In order to get to a position where there is a second referendum on Brexit or a general election, it’s very likely that the only route to that is if the Boris Johnson Government loses a vote of no confidence and somebody else comes in to take over.
“If you can’t work with Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of that caretaker Government, who would be an acceptable figure do you think for the Opposition to rally around?”
The former Tory MP replied: “I think there are many figures that could do that, the Father of the House Ken Clarke for example, we’ve got figures like Hilary Benn.
“There are many figures across the House that have cross-party support, and I think that’s the point here.
“It doesn’t need to be the leader of any particular political party, in fact it might be better in order to have everybody working together.”
Dr Wollaston also said Ms Swinson is being “realistic” in not supporting Jeremy Corbyn, and said he “won’t find the support of the Commons”.
She added: “I think it should probably be none of the party leaders that head that temporary arrangement if that’s where we get to.
“I think having a trusted figure that commands cross-party support would be much better for that very temporary arrangement if, indeed, that is one of the ways we go forward.”
Change UK – The Independent Group leader Anna Soubry has also refused to support Mr Corbyn in his plan to delay Brexit, telling the BBC’s Today Programme: “I would not support a Government of national unity that is led by Jeremy Corbyn for all manner of reasons.
“One because I don’t think it’s genuine, secondly because it’s not going to deliver a People’s Vote, which is the only way through the chaos. And of course he doesn’t command support and respect in his own political party, never mind across the Parliamentary divide.”
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts, on the other hand, has welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s call to work together in a time-limited caretaker Government, but said Labour has to “let go” and back a second referendum.
She told the Today programme: “I welcome the fact that at last Jeremy Corbyn is reaching out, that he is making a serious attempt in recognition that we have to work together to stop a no deal.
“No deal would be such a disaster. It isn’t a matter of party interest, it isn’t a matter of personality interest, we now have to put what is best for our communities and our countries in the United Kingdom first.
“In that respect, I would call on Labour now, seriously, let go. Stop clinging to what you said in the past. We need to work together seriously. In that respect we need to put a referendum first.”
Independent MP Gavin Shuker said there would be no majority in Parliament for a Government led by Mr Corbyn. He said: “Not for a minute, an hour, a day. More cynical games from him. Under another Labour figure, it’s possible.”
Conservative MP James Cleverly claimed “dozens” of Labour MPs were “horrified” by the idea of Mr Corbyn in Number 10.He wrote on Twitter: ”They’ve told me, surely they must have told him too. Surely.”
But loyal Labour politicians gave their backing to the plan, saying it was the best way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: ”Jeremy has offered the surest way to prevent a no deal Brexit. Any opposition party leader or MP rejecting this offer will carry the responsibility for allowing a no deal disaster and will never be forgiven.”
Dawn Butler called it a “sensible plan”, adding: “We should not fear letting the people decide the future of our country.”