Corbyn outlines plans to defeat no-deal by leading ‘time-limited’ government
The Labour leader also wants to secure an extension to the Article 50 process.
Jeremy Corbyn plans to defeat a no-deal Brexit under Boris Johnson by securing a general election as leader of a “strictly time-limited” caretaker government after winning a no-confidence vote.
The Labour leader would also secure an extension to the Article 50 process to delay the UK leaving the European Union past the October 31 deadline under the proposals.
Mr Corbyn outlined his plan on Wednesday to seek a no-confidence vote at the “earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success” in a letter to Westminster’s opposition leaders and key Tory rebels.
I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success Jeremy Corbyn
It comes amid persistent fears of a chaotic and damaging no-deal Brexit under the Prime Minister’s “do or die” commitment to leave the EU by the deadline.
But the Liberal Democrats dismissed the Labour leader as being the right person to lead a temporary government, while Downing Street criticised him for planning to “overrule the referendum”.
Mr Corbyn wrote: “This Government has no mandate for no-deal, and the 2016 EU referendum provided no mandate for no-deal.
“I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success.
“Following a successful vote of no confidence in the Government, I would then, as Leader of the Opposition, seek the confidence of the house for a strictly time-limited temporary government with the aim of calling a general election, and securing the necessary extension of Article 50 to do so.”
Mr Corbyn said Labour would campaign in that election for a second referendum on EU membership with the option to Remain being available to voters.
He concluded in the letter sent to Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, the SNP’s Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts that he hopes to discuss the proposals with them further to “end the uncertainty and disarray”.
Mr Corbyn could secure his proposed temporary administration by winning the support of the House of Commons after defeating Mr Johnson with the majority of MPs backing a vote of no confidence in the Government.
Then, as PM, he could table a motion for an early general election which would succeed with the support of two-thirds of the seats in the Commons, in the same fashion as Theresa May’s doomed vote in 2017.
Mr Corbyn will hope that the promise of his government only being temporary will be enough to secure the support of his critics who otherwise want to halt a no-deal.
But Ms Swinson quickly scuppered some of those hopes by saying he was the wrong politician for the job.
“Jeremy Corbyn is not the person who is going to be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task – I would expect there are people in his own party and indeed the necessary Conservative backbenchers who would be unwilling to support him. It is a nonsense,” she said.
“This letter is just more red lines that are about him and his position and is not a serious attempt to find the right solution and build a consensus to stop a no-deal Brexit.”
Mr Blackford welcomed the Labour leader’s letter and said the SNP would bring down the Tories in a no-confidence vote.
Ms Saville Roberts also offered her cautious support, saying Plaid Cymru is open to a unity government regardless of who leads it, but that it must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas also said she would back a no-confidence vote, but added that she wants Mr Corbyn to guarantee Labour’s support for another MP to lead a temporary Government if his bid to govern fails.
A No 10 spokesman said: “There is a clear choice: either Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister who will overrule the referendum and wreck the economy, or Boris Johnson as Prime Minister who will respect the referendum and deliver more money for the NHS and more police on our streets.”
Also receiving the letter were Tory MPs Dominic Grieve, Sir Oliver Letwin and Dame Caroline Spelman, Green MP Caroline Lucas and Nick Boles, the independent MP who quit the Conservatives over Brexit.