Grieve won’t help Corbyn into Downing Street – but can Swinson be persuaded?

Jo Swinson: Was this how she looked when she was told her rejection of Jeremy Corbyn’s offer had gone down like the Titanic?

Tory rebel Dominic Grieve seems to have rowed back on his agreement to talk with Jeremy Corbyn about supporting his ‘no confidence’ plan to topple Boris Johnson.

In an email seen by the New Statesman, Grieve responded to someone critical of the Labour leader’s plan by stating: “I entirely agree. I am not about to facilitate Jeremy Corbyn’s arrival in Downing Street.”

So what, exactly, was he going to say, once he got into a negotiating chamber with the Labour leader?

The issues are clear: Either help Mr Corbyn stop BoJob’s plan for a “no deal” Brexit or be counted among its facilitators.

It is the same issue that is facing Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson. After being made to look a fool for dismissing Mr Corbyn’s plan outright yesterday, is she mature enough to swallow her wounded pride, admit she may have been mistaken, and come to the table?

Caroline Lucas hopes so:

Ms Lucas also suffered ridicule earlier this week, when he call for an all-female alternative cabinet attracted criticism for being both sexist and racist. She has showed the maturity necessary to realise that her idea was a mistake, reconsider, and come around to supporting Mr Corbyn.

Many others are appealing for Ms Swinson to do the same and help give Mr Corbyn the Parliamentary majority he needs.

Jonathan Lis, in The Guardian, has claimed that Ms Swinson has put herself in a difficult position that needs to be explained: “Swinson has always emphasised, rightly, that her party’s priority is to stop no deal. This could prove the only way to do so. If the Lib Dems really believe that a few months of a limited Corbyn government is worse than medicine shortages, it is their duty to say why.”

Can she? It seems doubtful.

Mr Lis, of the think tank British Influence, continued: “It is time for the Lib Dems, and indeed all remainers, to decide what they really want. A few months of a Corbyn government is not worse than infrastructural or economic collapse. If your most important goal is to stop no deal, you must take every conceivable step to do just that. Our politicians will not benefit from the catastrophe of a crash-out Brexit. But, far more importantly, neither will the British people.”

If Ms Swinson is indeed interested in stopping Brexit – and not just in stopping Jeremy Corbyn – then these issues should be on her mind.

Also on her mind should be the decisions of the people who have voted Liberal Democrat in recent months, on the understanding that they were supporting the ‘Party of Remain’. If she flat-out refuses an opportunity to stop Brexit, she will be betraying them. And it seems likely that Boris Johnson will call a general election immediately after his Brexit happens on October 31, if he gets that far. What will those voters do then?

The most likely choice for them is to abandon her – and her party.

Her knee-jerk reaction also induced people to remember the Liberal Democrats’ Parliamentary record – and the recollection is far from palatable:

And the commenters on the social media made up their minds very quickly:

Ms Swinson’s offer to support a ‘no confidence’ vote and interim government if it was led by Harriet Harman or Kenneth Clarke (she thought these were the longest-serving MPs of either gender in the House of Commons but in fact Dennis Skinner is the longest-serving male MP; he refused the title “Father of the House” so it went to the next-eligible candidate) has also been met with derision:

And many think she’s just a Tory in disguise:

On the subject of principles: As I have been writing this, a Liberal Democrat source has told the Independent that the party has “no principled objection” to supporting Mr Corbyn as an interim prime minister.

So it seems even her own MPs won’t support Ms Swinson – if only now that they have seen the way the wind is blowing.

Will she make the smart choice, admit she spoke too soon, and get behind Mr Corbyn now?

7 thoughts on “Grieve won’t help Corbyn into Downing Street – but can Swinson be persuaded?

  1. trev

    Yep, we must never forget that Nick Clegg and the LibDems have a lot to answer for. Now they have an opportunity to make good, do the right thing for the people of this country, for the victims of this God-forsaken Tory Hell-hole, and help Jeremy Corbyn to save this nation from the brink of the abyss.

  2. Zippi

    What did I say about “power” over good governance and principles? All of them are beneath contempt.

  3. stevedavidh

    The LibDem’s membership must be shocked and profoundly disappointed that Ms Swinson’s lack of political nounce has been exposed at the first hurdle, especially on something that is so fundamental to their existence as a party.

  4. Growing Flame

    It is quite clear that the offer of an interim period to block “No Deal” is time-limited. Was it two months?
    So what are they worried about? Corbyn will only be PM for a few weeks. So he cannot have the time to turn Britain around and make it a fairer, more secure country in that short period. So why should rebel Tories and Lib Dems worry? They could form another coalition afterwards and put us through more years of austerity misery.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The time period being bandied around is five weeks, I thought.

      As for why the Tories and Lib Dems are worried, I think they’re concerned that once Mr Corbyn gets into 10 Downing Street, the people might decide they like having him there.

  5. Pete Sunter

    Ken Clarke is not the longest serving male MP. That’s Dennis Skinner. He just refused the tomfoolery of the title “father of the house” so it went to Clarke.

    Makes even more of a mockery of Swinsons position.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      It really does. Thanks for letting us know – I’ve included it in the article.

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