The wheels have fallen off the 'Remain Unity' bus once again

PUBLISHED: 12:50 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:51 16 August 2019

Opposition party leaders including Jo Swinson for the Lib Dems, Sian Berry for the Greens, Jeremy Corbyn for Labour and Anna Soubry for the Independent Group for Change. Photograph: TNE/PA.

Opposition party leaders including Jo Swinson for the Lib Dems, Sian Berry for the Greens, Jeremy Corbyn for Labour and Anna Soubry for the Independent Group for Change. Photograph: TNE/PA.

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It was the week that was meant to show a united Remain alliance that could topple Boris Johnson and stop Brexit.

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But far from uniting the anti-Brexit movement, the divisions between each fraction have blown open up again.

Caroline Lucas' initial proposal for an emergency cabinet saw the Green MP on the back foot after she suggested that we should have a cabinet of females running the country to ensure a People's Vote and to stop a no-deal Brexit.

While it helped to start a conversation, Labour supporters derided the proposals because it ignored the leader of the opposition, and others disputed the plans because it lacked men and diversity.

Lucas apologised - she said should have considered people of colour in her proposals - but stood by her plans to put female MPs in charge of the country but it highlighted the dilemma opponents of Boris Johnson face about what happens next.

The biggest fall out, however, came with Jeremy Corbyn's offer to be a caretaker prime minister to boot Boris Johnson out of Number 10 and to temporarily take charge to organise a general election and another extension to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Within hours Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who has still been enjoying the honeymoon in her new position, was on the airwaves calling it a "nonsense".

While many within the anti-Brexit movement can typically sympathise with Swinson's anti-Corbyn suspicion, it felt like this time she had moved too quickly to dismiss the plan.

It appeared she would do anything to stop Brexit, but she won't do that.

The SNP and Greens were supporting it, Plaid Cymru were making some encouraging noises, while even some Tory MPs had agreed to meet Jeremy Corbyn to discuss.

One Tory even suggested it was the lesser of the two evils to have Jeremy Corbyn in power to stop a no-deal Brexit.

Even some Lib Dem MPs were said to be privately encouraged by the plan.

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Nonetheless Swinson had her own plan, install Harriet Harman or Ken Clarke in post to get things done, she pronounced live on television to further disagreement from Labour.

Meanwhile the Independent Group for Change suggested they might not even vote against Boris Johnson's government, because it risks putting the Labour MP in power, meaning all of these talks would be pointless because the prime minister would not fall on his sword.

All of these disagreements were unfolding - not in a room where politicians could trash out ideas like grown-ups - but over social media or live on television.

By the end of the day Jo Swinson had at least rowed back on her comments and suggested a meeting, but surely this could have all been arranged before the drama all unfolded?

As The New European previously reported, this week was meant to have been a turning point for the Remain movement.

The success of the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election showed what happens when Remainers work together - a new Liberal Democrat MP was elected helping to reduce the Tory majority.

Independent MP Sarah Wollaston had joined the anti-Brexit parties with defections from the Tories rumoured to follow.

The Unite to Remain movement looked poised to announce a new collaboration between the Green Party, Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru in England and Wales in100 seats, but faced with bickering between political parties that idea appears to be on the backburner.

While it leaves plenty to talk about, it also leaves many of us exasperated.

It truly appears that the wheels have fallen off the Remain bus again and it is going to take some considerable leadership to bring it all back together again.

Boris Johnson must be watching this week's events unfold in the media with particular glee.

- Hear more analysis of the week in politics on this week's TNE podcast. It is available to download for free.

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