Corbyn under pressure to back a second referendum ahead of a general election
The Green Party and Plaid Cymru have called on Jeremy Corbyn to back an extension to Article 50 and a second referendum ahead of a general election, after the Labour leader wrote to anti-Brexit MPs calling for the formation of a “unity government”.
Corbyn set out his plans in a letter intended to woo rebel Tories and opposition leaders into stopping a no-deal Brexit by removing Boris Johnson as Prime Minister and allowing Labour to form a “strictly time-limited” caretaker government.
In the letter, Corbyn states that the caretaker government would call a general election in which Labour would be “committed to a public vote […] including the option to remain”.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas initially welcomed Corbyn’s call for a vote of no confidence and a temporary government, but added that it still “does not guarantee that the people are given the final say on Brexit”.
Lucas said: “Holding a general election before a People’s Vote is the wrong way around. Votes are cast in general elections on multiple issues, and the first-past-the-post system can and does create parliaments unrepresentative of the views of the people.”
“The People’s Vote would ensure everyone’s voice was heard clearly on the single, crucial, issue of Brexit,” Lucas added.
This was echoed by Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts, who said that while her party is “very much open” to the formation of a unity government, it is “extremely disappointing” that Corbyn’s proposal does not contain a commitment to a second referendum before a general election.
“His approach seems to be driven by the fact that Labour know their current frontbench cannot command the confidence of the House of Commons,” Saville Roberts said.
“If it was truly a pro-European party that puts the countries of the UK ahead of party it would not concern itself with such personality politics.”
Other MPs approached for talks include Tory rebels Dominic Grieve, Caroline Spelman and Oliver Letwin, as well as former Conservative Nick Boles. No Independent Group for Change UK MPs, independent or other former Labour MPs who have left the party were approached.
Johnson yesterday hit out at what he termed a “terrible collaboration” between pro-European MPs and the EU trying to block Brexit, as he once again refused to rule out shutting down parliament and holding a general election after leaving on 31 October.
Joe Evans is a freelance journalist and editor. He is on Twitter: @joeevanswrites
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