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Opposition rivals urged to ‘go the extra mile’ and unite to oust Boris Johnson

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said time was running out to remove the Conservative PM from Downing Street.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford wants the opposition to unite to out Boris Johnson from Downing Street (Jonathan Brady/PA)
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford wants the opposition to unite to out Boris Johnson from Downing Street (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Katrine Bussey, PA Scotland Political Editor

Opposition parties need to “go the extra mile” and act together to remove “toxic” Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Downing Street, the SNP’s Westminster leader said.

Ian Blackford warned those trying to prevent a no-deal Brexit were now running out of time to attempt to “bring down” the Conservative leader.

He spoke out after talks between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and others broke down over the crucial issue of who should be installed as a caretaker prime minister.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has insisted that, as leader of the Opposition, he should take over if Boris Johnson is toppled by a vote of no confidence.

But Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson flatly rejected that possibility.

“Jeremy Corbyn is not going into Number 10 on the basis of Liberal Democrats’ votes,” she said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. (Kirsty O’Connor/PA Wire/PA Images)

However, Mr Blackford stressed that with the UK due to leave the European Union at the end of this month, time was running out for the opposition to act.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “I do think there is a danger we run out of time, because when we call a motion of no confidence we have 14 days to put an administration in place. Once we get to the middle of October the options for us are beginning to close off.

“Everyone has to accept their responsibility. We are willing to do our part to bring Boris Johnson down – why are the other parties not prepared to do what is necessary to remove this man from office?

“We are not prepared to sit back and let Scotland be dragged off the cliff edge by Boris Johnson.”

Allowing Mr Johnson to take Britain out of the EU without a deal would be a failure of leadership by the opposition collectively, the SNP Westminster leader insisted.

Ken Clarke has been suggested as a caretaker prime minister (Danny Lawson/PA)

Veteran politicians such as Ken Clarke or Dame Margaret Beckett have been mooted as possible contenders for the role of caretaker PM.

Mr Blackford stressed: “This is not about putting someone in as prime minister.

“This is about an administrative function, putting someone in to force the extension of Article 50 and call an election. It is a means to an end.

“All of us have got to recognise the responsibility we have, it is up to the others that have failed to do that to recognise the challenge, and woe betide anyone that puts us in the situation that we run that risk of Boris Johnson driving us out on a no-deal basis – they will pay a price for that.

“The SNP are more than willing to work with others, the others have to come together with us and recognise that responsibility.

“Let’s take this toxic Prime Minister and his Government out of office. We can only do that with a motion of no confidence.”

He argued: “If we want to guarantee that Boris Johnson is not going to try to take us out on a no-deal basis, we have to take the keys of Number 10 Downing Street away from him. We need a motion of no confidence.

“We need to make sure we can put somebody in place, as a caretaker, that will write the letter extending article 50, and we have an election.

“I simply say to colleagues: If we fail to do this, then there is a risk Boris will try to crash us out, and that will be a failure of leadership.”



From Belfast Telegraph