Archbishop Joins Cross-Party MPs In Meeting To Stop No-Deal Brexit

27 August 2019, 15:37 | Updated: 27 August 2019, 16:29

Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop Justin Welby. Picture: PA

The Most Rev Justin Welby is in talks between MPs from opposition parties to discuss plans to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson and other opposition party leaders were joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury today in discussing an alternative parliament to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The symbolic meeting at Church House in Westminster, used by politicians during World War Two, could see participants sign a declaration to oppose any suspension of parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Also invited to the talks were several Conservative MPs, however none said they would attend.

Iain Duncan Smith opposes the talks
Conservative MP and former party leader Iain Duncan Smith opposes the talks. Picture: PA

Speaking on the involvement of Justin Welby, Iain Duncan Smith MP told The Times that the proposals were "deeply inappropriate" and suggested they were part of a plan to destabilise the Prime Minister's position.

He said: "I generally don’t criticise the Archbishop but he shouldn’t allow himself to be tempted into what is essentially a very political issue right now.”

Vice-chairman of the European Research Group and Tory MP, Mark Francois, echoed the former leader's concerns saying that the public were "sick and tired" from being told why the result of the referendum should be reversed.

He added: "I suspect they will not be overjoyed by having it rubbed in by the Archbishop of Canterbury to boot.”

Mark Francois also voiced concerns over cross-party group
Brexiteer Mark Francois also voiced concerns over cross-party group. Picture: PA

However, some politicians and senior clergymen hope the discussions will help to unite the country at a time of national emergency.

The Bishop of Buckingham, the Right Rev Alan Wilson, asked what Iain Duncan Smith is afraid of and said it would be "a helpful idea" in "a mature democracy".

Independent MP Frank Field added that he was pleased with the assembly's plans to bring Leave and Remain voters together.

The former Labour Party politician said: "I support any means by which we might be able to come, as a country, towards a negotiated Brexit."

Jeremy Corbyn is hosting cross-party talks
Jeremy Corbyn is hosting cross-party talks. Picture: PA

In his invitation letter Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn outlined his plans to become caretaker PM using a no-confidence vote to defeat the government, pledging to use all tactics available to stop the UK leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal.

But Lib Dems and potential Tory allies have suggested they will not support plans that hand Corbyn the keys to 10 Downing Street.