Opposition parties will be challenged to put the good of the nation before their own ambitions if Labour wins a ‘no confidence’ vote against Boris Johnson’s government next month.
Political opponents of Mr Corbyn have suggested that a so-called ‘Government of National Unity’ could be formed if BoJob loses such a vote, but shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said Labour would not support it.
This means the plan should fail, as too few MPs would support it.
Instead, Mr McDonnell said Labour would demand the keys to 10 Downing Street from Mr Johnson and he would personally put Mr Corbyn in a cab to Buckingham Palace, to tell the Queen that Labour would take over.
And he issued a challenge to members of other Opposition parties:
The shadow chancellor said that if the Conservative leader failed to quit he would not “want to drag the Queen into this but [he] would be sending Jeremy Corbyn in a cab to Buckingham Palace to say ‘we’re taking over’”.
Ruling out any deals with the Liberal Democrats or the Scottish National party, McDonnell said the only guarantee to other opposition parties would be to block a no-deal Brexit and organise a fresh EU referendum.
“That means no coalitions or pacts, we just put it there [and] I think people of goodwill who are concerned about the interests of this country, about avoiding a no-deal Brexit, will vote for it,” he said.
The challenge will be particularly strong for the Liberal Democrats, whose new leader Jo Swinson has ruled out co-operating with Labour, claiming that Mr Corbyn is “unfit” to be prime minister.
But her party has framed itself as the champion of voters who wish to remain in the European Union and failure to support Mr Corbyn in a confidence vote would indicate support for a “no-deal” Brexit instead.
Of course there is also the question of whether the Queen would dismiss Mr Johnson if he refused to resign as prime minister voluntarily.
It is within her power but opinion is divided as to whether she would, with some saying it would only happen if the House of Commons indicated clearly who was to be prime minister in his place.
And this creates a challenge for all Opposition parties, and for potential Conservative rebels as well – as they are unlikely to want a man they have consistently described as a “hard-left Marxist” taking office.
But Mr McDonnell said Labour would form only a caretaker government while a “no-deal” Brexit is averted and a general election arranged.
Will this be enough to persuade MPs to back a “no confidence” vote in Boris Johnson? We’ll see. The clock is ticking.
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