Change MPs criticised for suggesting they could back Boris Johnson in no confidence vote

Supporters of Change UK with Anna Soubry MP and Chris Leslie MP. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA.

Supporters of Change UK with Anna Soubry MP and Chris Leslie MP. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Independent for Change group have been criticised after its leader said it would not vote against the government in an no confidence vote.

As a result the numbers for a vote to remove Boris Johnson might be even trickier than expected.

In a statement group leader Anna Soubry said: "To suggest, as a significant number of MPs from the other political parties have, that they should back Corbyn in a vote of no confidence and hand him the keys of No 10 is verging on the outrageous," she said.

"We will not support nor facilitate any government led by Jeremy Corbyn."

It followed comments from MP Chris Leslie, formerly of Labour and a long-time critic of Corbyn, who said instead parliament must legislate to stop a no-deal Brexit.

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He told Sky News: "We'll have to make a judgement in the circumstances in September. But voting for no confidence without the absolute certainty of an alternative government of national unity risks parliament being dissolved after 14 days. Which would in turn allow Johnson to crash out without a deal on October 31st."

He tweeted: "I don't want a Johnson govt. I'd rather a truly national unity administration."

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Sky's Lewis Goodall pointed out in response: "The irony is if the four ex Labour MPs among had stayed in their old parties (and voted how they did in the last no confidence vote) the govt would have been more likely to fall than it is now. Not sure Change is really living up to the name..."

Reporter Jon Stone replied: "A cynic might think Change UK want as long as possible for something to turn up and get them off 0% in the polls before an election wipes them out."

Comedian David Schneider said: "Change UK. Literally making sure there's no Change, UK."

Left-wing commentator Owen Jones wrote: "It's almost as if these people hate Corbyn more than they hate Brexit."

Jonathan Lis said: "I don't mean this to sound unkind, but Change MPs might perhaps reflect if it is better for them to leave the Commons with some dignity and honour while defeating Johnson and no-deal, rather than enabling an economic catastrophe in order to keep their jobs for a few more months."

But Janet Wood replied: "Corbyn really shouldn't have left Anna Soubry off the list of party leaders he wrote to. She is really annoyed."

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