She declared at the outset that she would have nothing to do with Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal for a vote of no confidence followed by an interim Government to extend the Article 50 period and set up a General Election. While the SNP, Plaid Cymru, Greens and even rebel Tories indicated they were prepared to line up behind Jezza to oust alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, Jo Swinson was not.
What d'you mean I've just been caught bang to rights?
This was despite some in her own party showing their support for the Corbyn plan, which would remove once and for all the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Moreover, it would follow the General Election with a commitment to a vote on the terms of leaving the EU - with an option to Remain on the ballot paper. What was not to like?
Ah well. It seems that, for Ms Swinson, old habits of allying with the Tories die hard. And this habit may not have died at all in her case, as Natalie Rowe discovered recently, putting it to the Lib Dem leader directly: “[Jo Swinson] Can you confirm that you HAVE NOT been in discussions with [Boris Johnson] specifically between the 9th - 12th of this Month of August ? Cause nothing gets passed the Nats. A simple YES or NO, will suffice. I’ll wait, but not too long”. She also tagged Corbyn, telling him to “Take note”.
So it seems Ms Swinson may be opposed to Jezza’s offer not over any point of principle, but because she appears to have already pledged her backing to Bozo The Clown. And for someone whose party is supposed to be committed to stopping Brexit, that could be a career ending move. Ms Rowe had a warning for the Lib Dems.
“Remember Ole Theresa May with her ‘nothing has changed’? NOTHING has changed when it comes to the [Lib Dems]. Don’t be sucked in because she’s a Female riding on the Girl Power tripe. DO NOT TRUST [Jo Swinson]”. What, one wonders, has Bozo promised her? Because, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, whatever it is, it will end up with the Lib Dems getting screwed over. Like they were in 2015.
Reaction to the Swinson refusal was not good for her party. After Harriet Harman indicated her backing for Corbyn, Sue Marsh observed “Awks for Jo”. BBC politics reported “‘A short-term Jeremy Corbyn government is less damaging than the generational damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit’ Conservative Guto Bebb says MPs opposed to leaving the EU without a deal must take the Labour leader's Brexit plan seriously”.
And any thought that Scottish Labour may not be on board with Jezza was dispelled by its leader Richard Leonard telling “When [Jo Swinson] isn’t cheerleading for statues of Margaret Thatcher she is touring TV studios lobbying to keep Boris Johnson in Downing Street”. And the Tweeter known as Tory Fibs noted “Remainers opposed to Corbyn’s bold new offer … Chuka Umunna & Jo Swinson”.
Well, Anna Soubry may still be having the odd whinge about not getting a letter from the Labour leader. But the point is well made. Umunna is opposed because of his personal animosity to Corbyn, and sure and certain knowledge that he would lose his seat if he stood as a Lib Dem. But Jo Swinson is opposed because, it seems, of her dealings.
Those dealings appear to include taking to the Tories first, and talking to them during the last week. Time for the Lib Dem leader to come clean - and then go quietly.
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