Mr Corbyn is planning to delay Brexit still further by securing an extension to the Article 50 process, thus taking the UK past the October 31 deadline by which Mr Johnson has vowed, “do or die”, to take the UK out of the European Union. The Labour leader’s plans were outlined in a letter to Westminster’s opposition leaders and key Tory rebels, including Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Letwin.
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 the resulting election for a second referendum on EU membership with the option to Remain being available to voters.
The letter has been sent to the SNP’s Ian Blackford, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson.
Mr Corbyn concludes by stressing his wish to discuss the proposals with the various party leaders further to “end the uncertainty and disarray”.
Ms Saville Roberts welcomed the Labour leader’s letter, saying Plaid Cymru is open to a unity government regardless of who leads it.
However, she said it must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority.
She added: “It’s extremely disappointing, therefore, that Mr Corbyn cannot bring himself to take the best possible pro-European option – a referendum first, followed by a general election.”
Also receiving the letter were Green MP Caroline Lucas, Tory MP Dame Caroline Spelman and Nick Boles, the independent MP who quit the Conservatives over Brexit.
Mr Corbyn made his move hours after Mr Johnson accused MPs of “collaborating” to block Brexit.
Speaking during a self-styled “People’s PMQs” from his Downing Street desk, Mr Johnson said: “There’s a terrible kind of collaboration, as it were, going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.
“And our European friends are not moving in their willingness to compromise, they’re not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement even though it’s been thrown out three times, they’re sticking to every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement – including the backstop – because they still think Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.
“The awful thing is the longer that goes on, the more likely it is of course that we will be forced to leave with a no-deal Brexit.
“That’s not what I want, it’s not what we’re aiming for but we need our European friends to compromise.
“The more they think there’s a chance that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament, the more adamant they are in sticking to their position.”
Published at Wed, 14 Aug 2019 23:01:00 +0000