Tory Remainer rebels spark Brexiteer fury as they AGREE to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss plans to block a No Deal Brexit and make him PM
- Trio of Tory MPs agree to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss anti-No Deal plans
- Dominic Grieve, Sir Oliver Letwin and Dame Caroline Spelman agree to talks
- The MPs promise to ‘work together in Parliament to prevent No Deal Brexit’
Three leading Tory Remain-backing MPs today risked the fury of their pro-Brexit colleagues after they agreed to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss how to block a No Deal divorce from the EU.
Mr Corbyn sent a letter to opposition leaders and a handful of senior Europhile Conservative MPs last night urging them to help him topple Boris Johnson and become caretaker PM to delay Brexit beyond October 31.
The proposal has been given short shrift by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson who called the plan ‘nonsense’.
But a trio of Tories have agreed to face-to-face talks with Mr Corbyn.
Dominic Grieve, Dame Caroline Spelman and Sir Oliver Letwin, along with former Tory Nick Boles, reportedly said in a written response to Mr Corbyn: ‘We agree that our common priority should be to work together in Parliament to prevent No Deal Brexit and welcome your invitation to discuss the different ways that this might be achieved.
‘We would be happy to meet with you as well as colleagues from other opposition parties whenever convenient in the weeks before Parliament returns.’
While committing to talks in the letter, the Tory rebels did not discuss supporting a vote of no confidence against Mr Johnson – a move which would almost certainly result in them losing the Conservative whip.
Dame Caroline later clarified that she would be unwilling to support a temporary government led by Mr Corbyn in any circumstances.
However, the fact that sitting Tory MPs are willing to meet with Mr Corbyn to discuss how to thwart Mr Johnson’s ‘do or die’ Brexit pledge to take Britain out of the EU by October 31 with or without a deal is likely to prompt Tory Eurosceptic anger.
Dominic Grieve (pictured in July) is one of three sitting Tory MPs to have agreed to meet with Jeremy Corbyn to discuss his anti-No Deal plans
Mr Corbyn, pictured in Whaley Bridge on August 5, has invited opposition leaders and Tory rebels to work with him to oust Boris Johnson
In his letter to senior MPs, Mr Corbyn urged them to support a vote of no confidence against Mr Johnson’s administration and then install the Labour leader temporarily in Number 10.
He said: ‘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.
‘In that general election, Labour will be committed to a public vote on the terms of leaving the European Union, including an option to Remain.’
Mr Corbyn said he hoped his plan would ‘halt the serious threat of No Deal, end the uncertainty and disarray, and allow the public to decide the best way ahead for our country’.
But the fact that his blueprint includes making him prime minister means it will be almost impossible for many opposition MPs to support, with a large number angry at Mr Corbyn’s seemingly confusing Brexit position.
His plan started to unravel this morning as furious senior Labour frontbenchers tore into the Lib Dems after Ms Swinson distanced her party and its 14 MPs – votes Mr Corbyn needs – from helping him take power.
She dismissed Mr Corbyn’s offer, saying there was ‘no way’ the Labour leader could unite MPs.
Meanwhile, the SNP’s Westminster boss, Ian Blackford, insisted his party’s priority was to stop No Deal, not install Mr Corbyn in No10.
Anna Soubry, the leader of the Independent Group for Change, formerly known as Change UK, said she could not make Mr Corbyn PM ‘for all manner of reasons’.
Tory Brexiteers said the letter showed Mr Corbyn was ‘desperate’ and the overall reaction to the plan means it is almost certainly doomed to failure.
While it is possible that Mr Corbyn could win a majority in the House of Commons at a vote of no confidence, the chances of him carrying that majority over into a vote on him becoming PM appear vanishingly small.
The magic number for a majority in the House of Commons is 320 because while there are 650 MPs, the Speaker and his three deputies do not vote while Sinn Fein’s seven MPs do not take their seats.
Labour currently has 247 MPs – a long way short of the 320 needed – and there is no guarantee all of Mr Corbyn’s backbenchers would support him becoming PM given some of them oppose his leadership while others are adamant Brexit must not be delayed again.