London – A plan proposed by the leader of the main British opposition party for a no-confidence vote to stop Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government’s “disastrous” no-deal Brexit has received mixed reactions.
Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing leader of the Labour Party, has written a letter to leaders of other political parties and senior backbenchers stating that the government has “no mandate for No Deal.”
“I therefore intend to table a No Confidence vote at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success,” he wrote.
Corbyn said that if the no-confidence vote succeeds, as prime minister he would call for a general election and secure a “necessary” extension of Article 50, the EU treaty provision governing membership in the bloc.
“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,” Corbyn wrote.
Johnson has vowed to stick to an October 31 deadline for Brexit, even if there is no deal in place to regulate the country’s departure from the European Union.
“Strictly time-limited” government
A government spokesman commented on Corbyn’s letter: “There is a clear choice: Either Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister, who will overrule the referendum and wreck the economy, or Boris Johnson as prime minister, who will respect the referendum and deliver more money for the NHS [National Health Service] and more police on our streets.”
Corbyn said the envisaged caretaker government would be “strictly time-limited.”
Questions were raised over whether Corbyn can muster sufficient support to take over at the helm.
Jo Swinson, who took over as leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats last month, said Corbyn was “not the person who is going to be able to build even a temporary majority” in parliament.
In her first major speech, she has proposed that the longest-serving lawmakers in Parliament – veteran Conservative lawmaker Ken Clarke or Labour’s Harriet Harman – were more suited to lead an “emergency government.”
“There is no way he can unite rebel Conservatives and independents to stop Boris Johnson. It is not even certain that he would secure all the votes of Labour MPs,” she said.
Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said on ITV News that Corbyn was the Labour party leader and Swinson should “respect his title as leader of the official opposition.”
Other opposition lawmakers were more supportive of Corbyn’s plan.
Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru was open to a unity government that must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority, lawmaker Liz Saville Roberts said.
The parliamentary leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Ian Blackford, said his party “will vote against this Prime Minister and his government when the opportunity arises.”
Green Party lawmaker Caroline Lucas said she would back a no-confidence vote, but wanted some other lawmaker than Corbyn to lead a caretaker government.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon later said she hoped Swinson would reconsider her stance on dismissing Corbyn’s proposal, as did Lucas.
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said Corbyn’s plan was “the surest way to prevent a no-deal Brexit.”
Corbyn had a recent change of heart on a second referendum following months of fierce debate and pressure from pro-EU Labour members.
Parliament is in recess until early September.