Jeremy Corbyn: No-deal Brexit is really a Trump-deal Brexit

26 August 2019, 23:11 | Updated: 27 August 2019, 12:01

Jeremy Corbyn is meeting leaders of other opposition parties to plot moves in parliament to block a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour leader is proposing tabling a vote of no confidence in Boris Johnson in the Commons and a plan to install himself as an interim prime minister.

But not all the leaders support his plan to take over as PM and others are demanding a commitment from him that he will campaign to remain in the European Union.

Mr Corbyn is meeting the Lib-Dems' Jo Swinson, Ian Blackford of the SNP, Liz Saville Roberts and Adam Price of Plaid Cymru, the Green Party's Caroline Lucas and Tory defector Anna Soubry of The Independent Group for Change.

But his call for cross-party talks has been snubbed by pro-Remain Conservative MP Dame Caroline Spelman and Independent Tory Nick Boles, and leading Tory Remainer Dominic Grieve has said he is unable to attend.

While Mr Corbyn plots against no-deal, it has emerged that Mr Johnson is sending his chief Brexit adviser to Brussels this week. David Frost, Mr Johnson's Brexit "sherpa", will meet senior EU officials to discuss alternatives to the plan agreed with Theresa May.

Talks between British and EU officials are said to have been stepped up after the prime minister's visits to Berlin and Paris last week convinced officials that he is "serious about a deal".

At the end of the three-day G7 summit in Biarritz, Mr Johnson repeatedly refused to rule out suspending parliament in an effort to force through a no-deal Brexit.

"I think it's the job of everybody in parliament to get this thing done.," he said at a news conference at which he said MPs - including Speaker John Bercow - must "respect the will of the people".

He added: "I think it's what the people want. I also think, by the way, it's what our friends and partners on the other side of the Channel want. They want it over."

Asked about Mr Corbyn becoming a caretaker prime minister, Mr Johnson said: "One of my many missions in life is to protect the people of this country from the appalling consequences of a Labour government.

"And it's clear from what Jeremy Corybn is now saying that not only if he were in power would he put up taxes on virtually everything from income to pensions to inheritance to property.

"Not only would he align himself with some of this country's most intractable and difficult foes, but he would also renege, reject, revoke the mandate of the people.

"And I cannot think of anything worse for democracy or for trust in politics and I very much hope that does not happen."

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Ahead of his cross-party talks, Mr Corbyn said Mr Johnson's reckless rush toward a no-deal Brexit would leave the UK at the mercy of Donald Trump and US corporations.

Writing for The Independent, the Labour leader says the EU referendum result is being hijacked by those wanting a "bankers' Brexit".

"The Tories are going out with their begging bowl to billionaire hedge funders to raise cash for an autumn general election," writes Mr Corbyn, after reports that Mr Johnson may call an election for as early as October 17.

"The chaos and uncertainty caused by a no-deal Brexit is a potential goldmine for speculators betting against the pound.

"They will use the crisis to push through policies that benefit them and hurt everyone else, as they have since 2010.

"They will aim to reduce the power of workers, protections for consumers, the tax bills of bankers, the richest and big corporations, as well as the regulations that are supposed to stop them abusing their power.

"Johnson is cosying up to Trump because a no-deal Brexit is really a Trump-deal Brexit.

"It won't return sovereignty, it will put us at the mercy of Trump and the big US corporations dying to get their teeth into our NHS, sound the death knell for our steel industry and strip back our food standards and animal welfare protections."

Mr Corbyn says a general election is the simplest and most democratic way to stop no deal, but says he does not rule out other options to stop "a no-deal disaster" in its tracks.

"I'll discuss all these options with the leaders of other opposition parties," he says. "I hope we can come to a good working arrangement and bring on board others across parliament who see the danger of a no-deal crash out."

His shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tried to play down concerns about installing Mr Corbyn as a temporary prime minister.

"This is not about an individual," he told Sky News.

"Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely right that if there is a vote of no-confidence then the leader of the opposition ought to try and form a government."

The new Lib Dem leader, Ms Swinson, who initially refused to meet Mr Corbyn, has said he is putting any such vote at risk.

She told Sky News not enough Tory MPs would back him to become a caretaker prime minister.

"I don't think we should be focusing our time and mucking about with solutions that have no chance of working," she said on Tuesday.

"We really need to spend our precious, short time available working on solutions that can work."

Mr Blackford, the SNP leader, said with time running out, politicians of all parties need to put their differences aside and work together effectively to prevent Mr Johnson "driving the UK off a Brexit cliff edge".

"The SNP remains open to all options but it's increasingly clear passing legislation to block no deal appears to be the option most likely to unite MPs and stop Boris Johnson driving the UK off a Brexit cliff edge.

"That should be a primary focus of the cross-party meetings taking place - and the SNP will be pressing that case, while making clear that all options must be on the table.

"There is no time for egos. It would be unforgivable if the UK were to crash out of the EU with no deal because MPs at Westminster failed to work together."

But Mr Price, the Plaid Cymru leader, said: "We are approaching the cross-party meeting with an open mind but also a healthy dose of scepticism.

"With time running dangerously short and with a prime minister intent on pursuing a crash-out Brexit, Mr Corbyn must realise that we cannot back him unless he makes a totally unqualified commitment to Remain.

"This means exploring every avenue available in parliament to achieve that aim.

"Just last week Mr Corbyn failed to confirm that a Labour government under his leadership would campaign for Remain in a second referendum if a deal negotiated by Labour were also on the ballot.

"In the meeting we will tell Mr Corbyn that he cannot expect to become prime minister and then seek to secure a 'better' deal to put on a referendum ballot paper when no such deal exists."