News | Published August 16 2019

Swinson: Harman and Clarke ready to lead unity government

Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman are both prepared to lead a government of national unity to avoid a no-deal Brexit, Jo Swinson has claimed.

The Liberal Democrat leader made the extraordinary claim after rejecting Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to lead a unity government, branding the proposal as “nonsense” and saying he wasn’t the right man for the job.

Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman are the Father and Mother of the House of Commons respectively.

Swinson said they were both well experienced and could command parliament, telling the Today programme: "I have been in touch with them because obviously, you don't just mention people's names without checking that they're OK with that.”

"If the House of Commons asks them to lead an emergency government to get our country out of this Brexit mess and to stop us driving off that cliff to a no-deal, then yes, they are prepared to do that,” she added.

However, Swinson said she would be open to discussing alternatives with Mr Corbyn after coming under criticism from other opposition leaders for rebuffing his original plan so quickly.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, called the position of the Lib Dem leader “daft”, and the Green MP Caroline Lucas urged Swinson to rethink her position.

Tory MP Guto Bebb said he would do “anything necessary” to stop the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal, even if that means supporting Jeremy Corbyn.

Boris Johnson is insistent that the UK will come out of the EU on the 31 October “come what may”, and no active negotiations are currently taking place.

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Authored by

Joshua Sandiford
Junior Political Editor
August 16 2019

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