Opposition parties in ‘blame game’ after failure to agree next steps for stopping no-deal Brexit

Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, Liz Saville-Roberts and Ian Blackford. Photograph: TNE/PA.

Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson, Caroline Lucas, Anna Soubry, Liz Saville-Roberts and Ian Blackford. Photograph: TNE/PA. - Credit: Archant

Opposition parties were pointing the finger at each other as they failed to agree the next steps at a cross-party meeting to scrutinise the government's Brexit plans.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was meeting the SNP's Ian Blackford, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and the Greens' Caroline Lucas - as well as Anna Soubry of the Independent Group for Change and Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts.

But the Lib Dems have accused Labour of being responsible for a no-deal Brexit, with a senior Lib Dem source saying: "The position Jeremy Corbyn is taking is that we can have an emergency government, but only if he gets to lead it.

"They know they don't have the numbers, but they are insistent they won't work with anyone else.

"Their total unwillingness to work with anyone else makes the Labour Party the biggest barrier to stopping no-deal."

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Tory rebels, members of the Independent Group for Change and the Liberal Democrats have all said they could not support Corbyn as interim prime minister.

On the same day Tory rebels signalled they were yet to be convinced by the argument for a new emergency motion - known as a standing order 24 (SO24) - to take control of Commons business.

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A successful SO24 could have seen opposition parties take control of the order paper to strengthen legal guards against a no-deal Brexit.

It is understood the 21 Conservative rebels, who were sacked from the party for voting to implement the no-deal blocking Benn act, were not convinced by the measure.

Separately shadow chancellor John McDonnell warned that the Lib Dems would be responsible for a no-deal Brexit for not working with Labour.

He told Italian newspaper La Repubblica: "We want to ensure that we abide by the normal conventions, which is the largest party is given the opportunity to form that government.

"The other opposition parties will then have to make their minds up, because if they don't swing their support behind Jeremy Corbyn, they'll be blamed for the no-deal."

It is understood there will be further meetings this week between party whips.

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