Jeremy Corbyn is not a Remainer and the Lib Dems will never back him as prime minister, Jo Swinson has suggested.
The Lib Dem leader was asked if she would throw her party’s weight behind the Labour leader’s bid to become caretaker PM should Corbyn publicly commit his party to campaigning for Remain in a second Brexit referendum.
It came as Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, stressed that the party would officially back staying in the European Union should there be a second vote.
But, speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Tuesday ahead of cross-party talks on stopping a no-deal Brexit, Swinson rejected the idea that Corbyn could be pro-Remain.
“I am engaging with these talks today in a constructive way but it has been frustrating over the last several months and years to see time and again the Labour Party not take the opportunities that they would have had to avert the catastrophe of Brexit – 31 times that they have either voted with the Conservatives or sat on their hands to not stop this,” she said.
“So forgive me, if I don’t think that scenario [the Lib Dems pivoting to back a pro-Remain Corbyn as PM] is going to happen. I think ultimately Jeremy Corbyn’s personal view is different to that [pro-Remain].”
Starmer and Swinson both said their priority in talks today would be to force legislation through parliament that would block a no-deal on October 31.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson refuses to rule out suspending parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.
Opposition leaders and senior MPs will meet this morning to discuss how they can force the government to seek an extension of Article 50.
Starmer, meanwhile, warned Johnson that “next week it comes to the crunch and we’ve got to have a plan that we can all get behind”.
Asked if a vote of no confidence plan, with Corbyn becoming caretaker-prime minister, was dead in the water, he said: “No, but I think it’s important today that we pull people together and agree if we can a plan.”
Starmer urged MPs to “put aside the sort of fantasy politics of who wants this and that”, adding: “I was very struck by the suggestion that the prime minister has sought legal advice on whether he can suspend parliament from 9th September through to mid-October.
“Now I know he declaims that, but that is not the sign of a prime minister who is confident of getting a deal in the first place or a prime minister who thinks he’s going to win a battle in parliament.”
On any prorogation, he told Today: “The idea of shutting down parliament because you think parliament would defeat you if it was asked to decide on something as serious as no-deal is completely unacceptable … Well, I think it would be unlawful.”
Asked about Corbyn’s position, he said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s very clearly said that any outcome now must be subject to a referendum and we would campaign for Remain.”
It has been suggested that Johnson will seek a general election on November 1 in order to push through Brexit.
Labour has been demanding a general election for months, but, with two-thirds of MPs needed to back an early poll, Swinson suggested Lib Dems may not vote for it and that she would push Corbyn to pull back from the idea.
“The key thing for me in that scenario is that people genuinely get the chance to choose in such an election,” she said. “So that means that you do not have an election where we fall out and crash out of the European Union in the middle of it.”
Swinson said she would support an election before October 31 or after that date provided the UK had been granted an extension to Article 50.
Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan suggested she would not resign if Johnson sought to suspend parliament around Brexit day in order to force through a no-deal exit on October 31 without parliamentary scrutiny.
Morgan insisted, however, that she did not see the move as being “on the cards”.
She told the BBC: “I don’t think it will be necessary because I think, as the prime minister rightly has said, actually the role for parliamentarians now is to support the vote from 2016.
“Downing Street have made it very clear that claims of any sort of prorogation in September are utterly false and we are working very hard as a government to prepare for no-deal … The prime minister has said he’s not attracted to these sorts of archaic conventions.”
Asked if she would resign in such an event, she added: “I’m not planning the ending of my cabinet career at this moment in time, because I like the rest of the cabinet am working very hard, both to support the government in its efforts to find a deal, but also to prepare for a no-deal if that is what ultimately has to happen.”