Labour claims to be in secret talks with Tory Remainer rebels over ‘nuclear option’ of bringing down Boris Johnson’s government with no confidence vote
- Barry Gardiner said they dicussed the ‘nuclear option’ of a no confidence vote
- As many as a dozen Tories including Philip Hammond could back Mr Corbyn
- The Labour leader said his party would table the motion at a time of its choosing
- If he is toppled within four months, he would be shortest-serving prime minister
- Without support of the DUP, Conservatives do not have majority in the Commons
Barry Gardiner said that the opposition had been discussing the ‘nuclear option’ of supporting a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson’s Brexiteer administration
Labour has been holding secret talks with Tory Remainer rebels over working together to collapse Boris Johnson’s government within weeks if he attempts a No Deal Brexit, a shadow minister claimed today.
Barry Gardiner said that the opposition had been discussing the ‘nuclear option’ of supporting a no confidence vote in Mr Johnson’s Brexiteer administration.
The shadow international trade secretary’s admission came amid reports that as many as a dozen senior Tories could back Mr Corbyn if he calls for a vote of no confidence in the new government.
Philip Hammond, who quit as chancellor this afternoon rather than let Mr Johnson sack him, and former chancellor Ken Clarke, have both refused to rule out the drastic step that would possibly see them lose the Tory whip.
Mr Gardiner named no names but asked if some Tories were talking to Labour he told the BBC ‘yes of course they are’ but that any move would depend on whether they were really prepared to go through with it.
‘We know that the Whips’ operation on the Conservative side can be very powerful and very effective,’ he said.
‘So we really do have to be clear (about) those Conservative MPs who say they will act in the nation’s best interest – even to the extent of voting down their own Conservative Government – because they like we are so concerned about the impact of no deal on the future of our country.’
Mr Hammond leaving his last Cabinet meeting yesterday
Ken Clarke has not ruled out voting against Boris Johnson’s Government
Last week Mr Hammond said he was not going to ‘exclude anything at the moment’ when asked directly whether he could back a bid to scupper Mr Johnson who has pledged to deliver Brexit by October 31 ‘do or die’.
The fact that a sitting Tory Chancellor was openly discussing whether he could support a move to bring down the next Conservative administration was unprecedented in recent history.
Meanwhile, Stephen Hammond, a Remain-backing Tory health minister, previously hinted he would be willing to push the ‘nuclear button’ of a no confidence vote as he said politicians must ‘do the right thing as they see it for the country’.
And in June Mr Clarke said he was ready to vote no confidence in any ‘idiot’ who made a bid to take the UK out of the EU without approval from Parliament.
Defence minister Tobias Ellwood suggested there might be as many as a dozen MPs willing to take the momentous step.
Jeremy Corbyn last night vowed to ‘surprise’ Boris Johnson with a no-confidence vote which could bring his premiership to an abrupt halt.
The Labour leader said his party would table the motion at a time of its choosing, with sources not ruling out making a dramatic move this week.
If Mr Johnson is toppled within the next four months, he would be the shortest-serving UK prime minister ever.
The Labour leader (pictured) said his party would table the motion at a time of its choosing, with sources not ruling out making a dramatic move this week
Without the support of the DUP, the Conservatives do not have a majority in the Commons.
Mr Corbyn tweeted: ‘Boris Johnson has won the support of fewer than 100,000 unrepresentative Conservative Party members by promising tax cuts for the richest, presenting himself as the bankers’ friend, and pushing for a damaging No Deal Brexit. But he hasn’t won the support of our country.
‘Johnson’s No Deal Brexit would mean job cuts, higher prices in the shops, and risk our NHS being sold off to US corporations in a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.
‘The people of our country should decide who becomes the prime minister in a general election.’
Asked whether Labour will table a vote of no-confidence in the new prime minister, Mr Corbyn told the BBC: ‘We will table one when appropriate to do so. We’ll decide when that will be – it’ll be an interesting surprise for all of you.’
New Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson said: ‘Whether it is throwing people under the bus or writing a lie on the side of one: Britain deserves better than Boris Johnson.’