Lib Dems would not support any Labour leader in government, claims spokesman

PUBLISHED: 09:00 07 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:55 07 December 2019

A former Conservative minister has made a “substantial”, undiscolsed donation to the Liberal Democrats - supporting Sam Gyimah in Kensington. Photo: Jonathan Brady / PA

A former Conservative minister has made a "substantial", undiscolsed donation to the Liberal Democrats - supporting Sam Gyimah in Kensington. Photo: Jonathan Brady / PA

PA Wire/PA Images

The Liberal Democrats would not support any Labour leader in a coalition because the party is now 'hard left', one of Jo Swinson's team has claimed.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Lib Dem business spokesman Sam Gyimah was commenting on comments they would not put Labour or the Tories in the government.

He was asked if that was even the case if Jeremy Corbyn looked like he was able to form a government.

Gyimah explained: "We had an opportunity to put Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street in September to get a People's Vote, but we didn't. We didn't do it then, we wouldn't do it now."

Pressed on if his party would support Labour without Jeremy Corbyn, the former Tory minister said: "The Labour Party is now a hard-left Labour Party and in terms of their values are diametrically opposed to us.

"Where we stand is that the choice before the country is between a hard-Brexit government or a hard-left Labour Party. Both of them are not in our national interest."

"We will act in a national interest, and what we want is a sufficient block of Liberal Democrat MPs to be a block on the extremes.

"What we need is a return to sensible pragmatic politics as the way forward, and the link that is drawn that somehow a vote for us directly goes for a vote for Jeremy Corbyn is an immature way of looking at our politics".

He added: "It doesn't have to be the red or the blue team."

Appearing on LBC, Gyimah qualified his remarks by saying it would be a "categorical no" as to whether the party would prop up anyone in Downing Street.

He explained: "Of course we can vote on legislation but let's draw a distinction between voting for a specific piece of legislation and actually propping someone up in government."

He later said: "Don't be surprised that the Lib Dems say that, the last time we ended up propping up a party in government, it didn't end so well."

Earlier in the week leader Jo Swinson said she would work with any party to get a People's Vote, but ruled out working with Jeremy Corbyn or Boris Johnson.

She said: "Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson, neither of them are fit to be prime minister.

"I will vote for legislation to pass a People's Vote, of course I will, and I would have done that under the previous Conservative government, just as I would do it under any other government."

She continued: "I am not going to put Jeremy Corbyn into Number 10, but if a government of any colour puts down a bill in parliament to have a People's Vote, then we will support having a People's Vote to put a specific Brexit deal to the people with the option of remaining in the EU."

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