Jeremy Corbyn’s call to opposition parties to install him as caretaker prime minister in a bid to stop a no-deal Brexit has been a hot topic of discussion among politicians – with not everyone convinced by his plan.
The Labour leader wrote to Westminster’s opposition leaders and key Tory rebels asking them to support a no-confidence vote he plans to seek at the “earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success”.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was quick to dismiss 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.
“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,” she said.
“It is a nonsense.”
There was cautious support from Plaid Cymru, with Liz Saville Roberts saying the party was open to a unity government regardless of who leads it, but that it must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority.
The SNP’s Ian Blackford welcomed the Labour leader’s letter as he said the party would bring down the Tories in a no-confidence vote, while Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, another recipient of the letter, also said she would back a no-confidence vote but said she wanted Mr Corbyn to guarantee Labour’s support for another MP to lead a temporary Government if his bid to govern fails.
Meanwhile, Change UK leader Anna Soubry expressed her disappointment that she had not been included in the letter and branded Mr Corbyn’s plan a “stunt”.
“Our exclusion and the preference for a General Election rather than an immediate People’s Vote leads me to conclude this is nothing more than a stunt,” she said.
“Our country faces a very serious political and constitutional crisis and important decisions must be taken. I have argued for a genuine Government of National Unity led by someone who commands respect and support not just in his or her own party but in all parties.
“Jeremy Corbyn is not that person given he struggles to maintain the confidence of his own back benchers.”
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.
“They’ve told me, surely they must have told him too. Surely,” he said on Twitter.
Fellow Tory MP Julian Knight said “literally anyone” would be more suitable for the job.
But loyal Labour politicians gave their backing to the plan, saying it was the best way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
“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,” said shadow chancellor John McDonnell.
Dawn Butler called it a “sensible plan”, adding: “We should not fear letting the people decide the future of our country.”
Labour MP Richard Burgon attacked the Lib Dems for rejecting the proposal.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “Morally and logically unsustainable for the Lib Dems to put Cameron into power to create the mess the country is in & then block Corbyn from getting the country out of that mess. That would complete a decade of shame for the Lib Dems.
“Not too late for them to do the right thing.”