Jeremy Corbyn’s Number 10 coup: Labour leader writes to rebel Tory MPs offering to fight for a new referendum IF they help to make him caretaker Prime Minister to stop No Deal immediately
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of plotting a ‘desperate’ coup
- He pleaded for support in bringing a no confidence vote to prevent No Deal
- Embarrassingly Mr Corbyn’s plans have been rejected by the Lib Dems already
In an extraordinary letter to rebel Tories and opposition parties, Mr Corbyn said he was ready to lead a ‘strictly time-limited’ government to secure an extension to Article 50.
Mr Corbyn pleaded for support to bring down Boris Johnson with a Commons vote of no confidence, saying he would then stop No Deal before ultimately calling a general election – and campaigning for a new referendum.
Embarrassingly for the Labour leader, Lib Dems leader Jo Swinson rejected the plea out of hand, saying it was not a ‘serious attempt’ to stop No Deal.
It came after an extraordinary war broke out yesterday between No 10 and Philip Hammond over Mr Johnson’s Brexit strategy.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was accused of plotting a ‘desperate’ coup against Boris Johnson’s government. The PM is seen on the right in a Facebook Live yesterday
A letter from Jeremy Corbyn outlining how he intends to oppose a No Deal Brexit
Criticism from Mr Hammond drew a stinging rebuke from Mr Johnson’s allies, with the Prime Minister himself accusing Remainer MPs and Brussels of a ‘terrible kind of collaboration’.
The former Chancellor had infuriated Downing Street by claiming the Government had no mandate for No Deal, that Parliament would stop it, that ‘unelected people’ were wrecking any hope of an agreement and that a No Deal Brexit would be ‘as much a betrayal’ of the referendum as not leaving at all.
In his letter, Mr Corbyn also said there was no mandate for No Deal, and he wanted a confidence motion ‘at the earliest opportunity’.
He vowed that Labour would campaign in the ensuing general election for another public vote on Brexit – which would include the option to Remain.
John Bercow, speaker for the house of commons is adamant that there will be no suspension of parliament to ensure a No Deal Brexit
Tory MPs reacted with fury to Mr Corbyn’s gambit last night, while Downing Street said it was clear the Labour leader would ‘over-rule the referendum and wreck the economy’.
‘This Government believes the people are the masters and votes should be respected, Jeremy Corbyn believes that the people are the servants and politicians can cancel public votes they don’t like,’ a spokesman said.Clear signs that Britain is heading for political turmoil this autumn:
Clear signs that Britain is heading for political turmoil this autumn:
- Commons Speaker John Bercow spoke out again, saying he was ‘absolutely certain’ that Parliament would not be suspended in order to force through a No Deal Brexit.
- Mr Johnson refused to rule out an election soon after Britain’s Brexit day in his first ‘People’s PMQs’ held live on Facebook.
- Ministers accused Mr Hammond of hampering Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations by holding back money for No Deal preparations, so she could never realistically walk away from the table.
- Mr Hammond refused to deny claims that he suggested offering Labour a second Brexit referendum in return for their support to pass Mrs May’s deal with the EU.
- It was claimed Labour MPs opposed to a second referendum were considering a ‘radical and dramatic intervention’ to make clear they were prepared to vote for a Brexit deal.
- US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would block a UK trade deal if Brexit undermined the Northern Ireland peace process.
- Downing Street announced that a £25 million high-speed train will ferry medicine to the UK from France in the event of No Deal.
Mr Corbyn’s intervention last night appears to confirm that Britain is headed for a huge Parliamentary showdown this autumn if the European Union does not offer a new deal, and Mr Johnson tries to leave on October 31 without one.
The Labour leader believes he can bring down Mr Johnson with a confidence vote if he tries to go for No Deal, but many MPs are profoundly uneasy about him being the head of a so-called ‘unity government’ to replace him. His letter last night appeared to represent a desperate plea for support.
It was addressed to the SNP’s Ian Blackford, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Miss Swinson, as well as Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Tory MPs Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Caroline Spelman.
In a clear pitch to the Remain wing of his party, Mr Corbyn said Labour would campaign in any election for a second referendum on EU membership with the option to Remain being available to voters.
While Labour figures have made clear that this would be the party’s approach, Mr Corbyn had not previously set it out formally.
Last night, former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith said: ‘Corbyn realises he isn’t going to win the vote of confidence because no other party trusts him. He is desperate to win the vote and this is him in a panic.’
Tory MP Philip Davies said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn is desperate.
‘He stood on a manifesto promise at the last general election to leave the EU and honour the result of the referendum. He will do anything to grab power to inflict his Marxist extremism on the country – even ditching his promises to voters. Nobody would ever forgive any Conservative MP who acted to bring about a Marxist prime minister. This is a Marxist attempted coup.’
Tory MP Ben Bradley said: ‘The idea that there’s a Commons majority for a Corbyn government is pretty laughable.’ Colleague Nigel Evans added: ‘Stopping Corbyn should be the No 1 ambition of every Conservative MP – him as PM would be an economic earthquake which would have Venezuela-style consequences for a generation or more.’
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson has dismissed Mr Corbyn’s letter, saying it was not a ‘serious attempt’ at preventing a No Deal Brexit
Miss Swinson dismissed Mr Corbyn’s letter as a ‘nonsense’, adding: ‘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.’
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, Mrs Saville Roberts, said: ‘We are very much open to the idea of a unity government. It doesn’t matter who leads it, but its No 1 priority must be stopping Brexit. 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.’
Last night it was claimed Labour MPs opposed to a second referendum were ready to back a compromise Brexit deal based on the withdrawal agreement that MPs previously voted against. Stephen Kinnock, who co-ordinates about 30 MPs in a group called Respect the Result, said he believed that passing the withdrawal agreement was the most certain way of stopping the UK crashing out without a deal.
Boris Johnson fires broadside at Remainer rebel MPs accusing them of ‘collaborating’ with the EU to block Brexit – in his first ‘people’s PMQs’ event live on Facebook
David Wilcox, Whitehall Correspondent for MailOnline
Boris Johnson sensationally accused Remainer MPs of ‘collaborating’ with the EU to stop Brexit as he held his first ‘People’s PMQs’ on Facebook yesterday.
The Prime Minister took aim at politicians trying to thwart attempts to leave on October 31 with or without a deal with Brussels as he appeared live from Downing Street on the social media site.
His strongly-worded intervention came as Tory Eurosceptics launched a furious backlash against Philip Hammond after the former chancellor co-ordinated a Remainer attack on the PM, accusing him of torpedoing any chance of a new Brexit deal.
Mr Hammond authored an explosive letter to Mr Johnson, signed by a ‘Rebel Alliance’ of 20 of the former Cabinet minister’s Tory Europhile colleagues, in which he suggested the PM had ‘set the bar so high that there is no realistic’ chance of a new divorce agreement being struck with Brussels.
Meanwhile, in a column for The Times he took aim at Mr Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings who he accused of ‘pulling the strings’ to steer Britain towards a No Deal split from the EU.
In reply to a question about Brexit and parliamentary opposition from ‘Luther in Cheshire’, Mr Johnson said: ‘Luther you have asked the crucial question and there is a terrible kind of collaboration going on between people who think they can block Brexit in Parliament and our European friends.
The Prime Minister appeared live from Downing Street on the social media site in a session designed to semi-replicate the Prime Minister’s Questions session usually held on Wednesdays in the House of Commons
Boris Johnson again fails to rule out November election in tame Facebook grilling
Boris Johnson again failed to categorically rule out a post-Brexit general election as he took a selection of questions on Facebook Live yesterday.
All eight questions were pre-selected by Downing Street and those chosen were all about key areas of Mr Johnson’s campaign ahead of Brexit in October.
He was asked by ‘Sam from Newport’ about ‘what lengths am I going to, to prevent Parliament from blocking Brexit and does it include an election after October 31?.
He replied that he believes the British public have ‘had a lot’ of elections and electoral events in recent years.
‘I think what they want us to do is get on and deliver Brexit on October 31. I never tire of telling you that’s what we’re going to do,’ he added.
The other questions were:
- Scottish farmer Mickey asked what he would do to protect the Union
Mr Johnson cited his role as ‘minister of the Union’, under which he would ‘stress the benefits that flow to us all from the Union’. He also cited jobs in Scotland ‘built on ‘investment from the whole of the UK’.
- Amy in Weaverham, Cheshire, asked: What are you going to do to restore the British people’s faith in politics and politicians after the last three years of chaos, division and broken promises?’
He replied: ‘We are coming out of the European Union on october 31. That’s what the British people voted for and they feel very frustrated.’
- Shal, who lives in the countryside, asked how he would help rural people who feel ‘isolated from politics of London and Westminster’?
Mr Johnson cited Brexit, saying it was ‘at least partly to do with people in towns and regions of the UK feeling they weren’t being heard’. He also mentioned plans for regional devolution and his pledge to roll out fibre broadband.
- Kyle in Stourbridge asked what he was doing about mental health provision
The PM said that ‘so many of the problems of youth crime, youth violence and crime of all kinds are associated with mental health problems’ and said state agencies had to work together on ‘wraparound care’.
- Sarah from London asked about combatting knife crime
Mr Johnson said it was a ‘scourge’ and ‘a terrible thing’. He repeated his leadership campaign pater from earlier this summer by referencing his time as mayor of London from 2008- 2016. He talked about an approach that married helping kids with activities and jobs but also being ‘tough on law and order’, plus ‘a lot of stop and search’.
- Oliver asked who his political hero was
Mr Johnson said Winston Churchill and then added 5th century BC Greek statesman Peracles of Athens, who ‘believed in great infrastructure projects .. the many not the few … but above all will go down as one of the most powerful articulators of the idea of democracy.’
‘Our European friends are not moving in their opposition to, their willingness to compromise.
‘They are not compromising at all on the Withdrawal Agreement, even though it has been thrown out three times, they’re still sticking with every letter, every comma of the Withdrawal Agreement including the backstop, because they still think that Brexit can be blocked in Parliament.
‘The awful thing is the longer that goes on the more likely it is of course that we well be forced to leave with a No Deal Brexit.’
His remarks came after the European Commission insisted Britain needs to explain its ideas on the way forward if talks are to progress.
Vanessa Mock, a European Commission spokeswoman, said ‘our doors are open’ to discuss matters with the UK although any ‘concrete proposals’ should be ‘compatible’ with the Withdrawal Agreement.
Mr Johnson addressed questions on Brexit, mental health, knife crime and the Union during the session, watched by more than 7,000 people at the peak of the broadcast.
The broadcast lasted for some 13 minutes and 30 seconds, although this included a 60-second countdown and a video before Mr Johnson answered questions for around 12 minutes.
The Facebook Live received more than 4,000 comments, 661 shares and 51,000 views.
It also received 1,700 likes, 825 ‘love’ reactions and 129 ‘angry’ reactions.
The Prime Minister appeared sat at a desk, with a red London bus behind him and a tablet computer propped up in front of him.
Mr Johnson opened by saying: ‘Good afternoon, I am speaking to you live from my desk in Downing Street for the first-ever ‘People’s PMQs’.
‘At the moment, I’m afraid MPs are all off on holiday but I can take questions unpasteurised, unmediated, from you via this machine.’
At this moment, he pointed to a tablet on his desk before reading out a question which appeared to be queued up for him.
The live broadcast was designed to semi-replicate the Prime Minister’s Questions session usually held on Wednesdays in the House of Commons.
He said the platform allowed him to take questions ‘unpasteurised and unmediated from you, via this machine’.
Mr Johnson said he remains ‘confident we will get there’ and leave the EU on October 31, noting: ‘In the end both our friends in other European capitals, and I think MPs, will see it’s vital to get on and to do it.’
Naomi Smith, chief executive of Remainer organisation Best for Britain, said: ‘It’s extraordinary that the new Prime Minister has decided to lash out at our closest trading partners like this.
‘This administration and the last one have failed time and again to negotiate properly, suggesting only fantasy proposals.
‘The country is tired of this bluster which will only serve to destroy relationships with our nearest neighbours.’
Ministers and eurosceptic MPs had earlier hit back hard at Mr Hammond, accusing him of the ‘crime’ of failing to adequately prepare the UK for the option of a No Deal split.
All aboard! High-speed train will be used to ferry medicine to the UK from France in £25million No Deal Brexit plan
Eleanor Hayward, Health Reporter for the Daily Mail
The Government has announced a £25million contract for an ‘express freight service’ to deliver drugs from Europe within 24 hours.
It will deliver small parcels of medicine every day, and larger quantities of medicine every two to four days.
A high-speed train would be used to deliver small parcels of medicine every day to the UK from France in the event of a No Deal Brexit (file picture)
Health Minister Chris Skidmore said: ‘I want to ensure that when we leave the EU at the end of October, all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure frontline services are fully prepared. That’s why we are stepping up preparations and strengthening our already extremely resilient contingency plans.
‘This express freight service sends a clear message to the public that our plans should ensure supply of medical goods remains uninterrupted as we leave the EU,’ he added. The year-long contract will begin on October 31, the day Britain is scheduled to leave the EU.
Health Minister Chris Skidmore, pictured, said: ‘The express freight service sends a clear message to the public that our plans should ensure supply of medical goods remains uninterrupted as we leave the EU’
The Government is spending £434million to ensure the continuity of vital medicines and medical products, including through stockpiling.
Any interested providers have until August 21 to submit proposals – and the successful bidder will be announced in September.
The Government has been urging pharmaceutical companies to stockpile six weeks’ worth of essential medicines in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Critics of No Deal say this reliance on the EU to import drugs and medical equipment could ramp up costs and cause issues in the supply chain.
Mark Dayan, policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust, said: ‘These drastic plans to get urgent medical supplies into the UK for a year after a No Deal Brexit show the scale of disruption the Government is preparing for.’
He added: ‘In the circumstances, this new service is a good idea. But the delays and extra paperwork that Brexit without an agreement will cause will still be there when the plane lands or the train rolls in.
‘There will be complicated new processes for customs and gaining permission to use these services. Companies and suppliers will have to reroute all their supply lines overnight.’
Any interested providers have until August 21 to submit proposals – and the successful bidder will be announced in September (file picture)
Mr Dayan added that ‘any teething problems’ will have a ‘sharp impact on care, as vital supplies that can’t last more than a few days become useless’.
It also emerged that EU citizens in Britain will have to prove they are living here ‘lawfully’ after Brexit to access free NHS care under No Deal.
In a directive to hospital managers, the Department of Health said trusts must prepare to charge EU citizens who had previously been eligible for free treatment ‘immediately after exit day’.