Plan for Corbyn to be ‘temporary PM’
JEREMY Corbyn could be installed as a caretaker UK Prime Minister to wreck Brexit as early as next week under Scottish National Party (SNP) plans.
The Sun reports that the SNP are prepared to let the left-wing Labour boss take the top job so he could extend Article 50 - because the party is worried conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson will find a way to push Britain out of the European Union without a deal.
Mr Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit on October 31 no matter what - despite a law which was passed saying he would have to seek a delay if he couldn't get a deal.
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said: "VONC (Vote of No Confidence), opposition unites around someone for sole purpose of securing an extension, and then immediate general election.
"Nothing is risk free but leaving Johnson in post to force through no deal - or even a bad deal - seems like a terrible idea for me."
A senior SNP source close to the leadership told ITV: "It is increasingly clear that we will have to install a new prime minister via a vote of no confidence, so that we can request a delay to Brexit and hold an election.
"The convention is absolutely clear that it is the leader of the opposition - in this case Jeremy Corbyn - who should become prime minister in those circumstances.
"Trying to find a compromise candidate, a national unity candidate, is too complicated, especially in the time we have. Whether people like it or not, the temporary prime minister has to be Corbyn."
The party's Westminster leader Ian Blackford suggested the party wouldn't be opposed to putting Mr Corbyn in No. 10 Downing Street.
Asked if he'd back the Labour leader to succeed Mr Johnson after a successful no-confidence vote, Mr Blackford said: "I'm less concerned about the individual. I think it is fair to say that, in such a scenario, the official leader of the Opposition is the first point of contact as far as that is concerned.
"But we are only talking about putting someone in place in order to call an election. On that basis, I wouldn't be opposed to that."
He tweeted last night: "We are facing someone that will stop at nothing. We need to take the keys of number 10 from him."
However, the two parties would have to get the Liberal Democrats or other MPs on board to help push a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson over the line and to get enough MPs together to form a temporary coalition.
At the moment there is little prospect of Liberal Democrat boss Jo Swinson agreeing to elevate Mr Corbyn to PM.
Some of the 34 independent MPs may be willing to get them across the line - but most of them are former Tories and unlikely to back them.
Only with the help of them are they likely to succeed.
Under the plans Mr Corbyn would then seek an extension to Brexit and call an election.
Opposition parties including Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Greens and Plaid Cymru met again to discuss how to stop a No Deal Brexit.
They agreed that they wouldn't vote for an election unless there was a lock preventing a No Deal.
The parties will look at "all parliamentary mechanisms" they can.
An SNP spokesperson said: "It is now possible - if the political will is there - that parties could come together to ensure that the letter to secure an extension is not left in the hands of Boris Johnson and his cronies, who are determined to find a way to get around the Benn Act, but is instead sent by a temporary caretaker prime minister, who would be in office only as long as is necessary to send the letter, with an election held immediately afterwards.
"We remain open to all options to achieve the aim of stopping a No Deal Brexit and getting rid of Boris Johnson."
A Labour source said: "It might have to come out of the box. It's the simplest and most democratic way to stop No Deal. It would be a strictly time-limited government to stop no deal."
MPs across the divide don't trust that Mr Johnson will obey a new law called the "Benn Act" which will force the PM to go to Brussels and seek a third Brexit delay - which is why they are considering the extreme plan.
Opposition leaders have refused to bring Mr Johnson's government down because there's no consensus around a unity PM and they are concerned about him taking Britain out during an election period if one is automatically called within 14 days.
The PM has insisted he will obey the Benn law and Britain will still leave the EU on October 31.
But it's unclear how he would do that if he didn't get a deal signed off.
Former PM Sir John Major suggested that Mr Johnson may use an order of council to delay the implementation of the Benn Act.
Sir John said: "It is important to note that an Order of Council can be passed by Privy Councillors - that is Government Ministers - without involving HM The Queen. I should warn the Prime Minister that - if this route is taken - it will be in flagrant defiance of Parliament and utterly disrespectful to the Supreme Court.
"It would be a piece of political chicanery that no-one should ever forgive or forget."
Meanwhile Brexit Secretary Steven Barclay is jetting to Brussels for fresh talks with EU negotiator Michel Barnier.
Hopes for a negotiated Brexit deal faded as Mr Barnier separately met senior British and Irish ministers for another round of inconclusive talks.
Mr Barclay has yet to present Brussels with any legal text for the eventual treaty, and time is running out.
"I think there are still significant gaps between both sides," Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said after his talks with Mr Barnier.
"And until there is a serious proposal in writing that can be the basis for a negotiation then the gaps that are wide at the moment will remain."
Mr Barclay adopted a more optimistic tone after his meeting but was unable to point to any concrete progress.
"Well, I think there's still a long way to go. I think we are coming to the moment of truth in these negotiations, we will see if there is political will on both sides," Mr Barclay said.
After meeting Mr Coveney and then Mr Barclay separately in EU headquarters, Mr Barnier issued a reminder of the EU position.
"Michel Barnier stressed that it is essential that there is a fully operational solution in the Withdrawal Agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, protect the all-island economy and the integrity of the Single Market," the EU said.
"The EU remains open and willing to examine any workable and legally operative proposals that meet all these objectives." This came as Mr Johnson continues to insist that the deal must do away with the so-called "backstop" clause that his predecessor Theresa May agreed to.
That measure keeps the UK - or at least Northern Ireland - in the EU customs union until a way is found to keep the Irish border open.
But Johnson and the pro-Brexit MPs who rejected the previous withdrawal agreement argue that is a trap to keep Britain in the EU orbit.
The British leader, who has been in office since July and has yet to win a parliamentary vote, insists he would rather be "dead in a ditch" than delay Brexit.
"We are committed to securing a deal. We're committed to leaving on October 31, but that deal has to be without the backstop. Parliament has rejected the backstop three times," Mr Barclay said.
"I have been very clear with Michel Barnier and Taskforce 50 in the negotiations, the backstop has to go, but with good will on both sides a deal can be done."
This story originally appeared in The Sun and is reprinted here with permission.