MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s hopes of fading a national unity government to block a no-deal Brexit have been dealt another blow after two more Conservative rebels spoke out against the plan.
Alistair Burt and Justine Greening, two of the 21 Tory MPs who had the party whip removed after rebelling on Brexit, ruled out supporting any temporary government led by an opposition MP.
It follows Corbyn’s cross-party call to back him in leading a “strictly time-limited” government that would extend Article 50 before calling a general election.
But Burt, the former Foreign Office minister, said he would focus on pressing Boris Johnson to secure a deal that won the support of parliament and would not endorse any alternative plan.
“Everything other than leaving with a deal is worse, it just is,” he told a fringe event at the Conservative party conference on Sunday.
“I see no reason to move from my unwavering conviction that if we keep saying this and keep suggesting to the prime minister his best, outstanding option is to leave with a deal and nothing else, then that is the way we should go.
“I don’t fancy an alternative at all.”
Justine Greening, the former education secretary, said on Monday that she would not support Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister and that other ways of securing a second referendum should be pursued.
“I don’t want to see Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister of our country,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme.
“I believe that what we need is a Bill passing a referendum so the British people can take the final decision on what steps forward they want to take on Brexit.”
Several other expelled Conservative MPs, including David Gauke, Dominic Grieve, and Caroline Spelman have made clear they would not back a temporary government led by Corbyn.
However, former minister Guto Bebb previously urged his colleagues to “take seriously” the offer and said a two-week government led by Labour would be “less damaging than the generational damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit.”
An interim government would only be a viable option with the support of several expelled Conservative MPs, meaning the prospect of a government led by Corbyn remains unlikely.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has called for “an experienced MP” such as Conservative grandee Ken Clarke or long-serving Labour MP Harriet Harman but Corbyn would be reluctant to agree to any such plan and they would be even more unlikely to command the support of a majority in parliament.
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