Two days ago I noted Corbyn Seeks to Stop Brexit Via “Make Me Temporary PM” Pretty Please Offer.
My ending comment was “There is little chance Corbyn’s ‘Make Me PM Pretty Please’ motion does anything but fall flat on its face. But if by some miracle it passed, I expect Johnson would refuse to resign until October 31. Happy Halloween.”
Well, that did not take long.
The Guardian reports No-deal Brexit edges closer as key Tories refuse to back Corbyn
Corbyn’s hopes of forming a unity government were fading on Friday as a number of prominent Conservatives working to stop no-deal Brexit ruled out any mechanism to put the Labour leader in No 10.
Dominic Grieve, who has previously suggested he could vote against the government in a confidence vote, said he would not go as far as facilitating a Corbyn government. “Jeremy Corbyn is unfortunately a deeply divisive figure and in trying to stop a no-deal Brexit it is not my purpose to help him into Downing Street,” he said.
Swinson dismissed Corbyn’s offer on Wednesday but has since said she is open to discussions, while warning that Labour would be unable to get enough Conservative votes – or votes from former Labour MPs sitting as independents – to make the plan viable even with Lib Dem support.
Conservative MPs came under heavy pressure on Friday to distance themselves from Corbyn’s proposal. The former justice secretary David Gauke tweeted: “If anyone thinks the answer is Jeremy Corbyn, I think they’re probably asking the wrong question.”
Other independent MPs also came out swinging against the Labour leader. Anna Soubry, the former Tory MP who now leads the Independent Group for Change, said her five MPs “will not support nor facilitate any government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
“He cannot command unity of support amongst his own MPs but now Jeremy Corbyn calls on the rest of us to back him as ‘unity’ prime minister,” she said. “And we won’t even get a people’s vote but instead a general election which as we know will solve nothing.”
Extremely Difficult Math
- The default legal position is No Deal Brexit happens unless something stops it.
- There is insufficient support for anything that can stop it. There is no majority for Remain or for anything else.
- Any Tory who supported any opposition leader would quickly find themselves out of a job. They would be ousted from the party then lose their seat in the next election. There could be a couple MPs willing to fall on their sword, but that seems insufficient.
- Although the Tories have a majority of precisely one, it would take a couple of Tories and the entire opposition to unite behind a caretaker government.
- The independent MPs alone are sufficient to stop such an alliance. Add in a few Liberal Democrats and one or two Labour Party MPs even assuming those parties would back a caretaker government and it’s easy to see where this is headed: nowhere.
Theoretically Possible, Politically Impossible
It is not impossible for an alliance to form, but clearly it cannot involve Corbyn.
Would Corbyn stand down? Nope.
Corbyn wants a customs union while the Liberal Democrats want to remain.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson wants to become PM and if not that, then the leader of the opposition. Why would she do anything to strengthen Corbyn?
That’s at the heart of the matter. Even if those difference were magically resolved, the math still does not quite make it.
This is why the Tories quickly (in one day flat) had second thoughts and backed away from Corbyn’s Pretty Please Offer.
- Although there is a sufficient number of MPs who want to stop No Deal, there is no way for them to unite in a meaningful way.
- And even if the opposition did magically unite, it is highly likely Boris Johnson would refuse to stand down allowing the caretaker government to take over.
- Instead, Johnson would call for election on October 31 while running on a Brexit platform.
In that scenario, I believe Johnson would win in a landslide given the splintered opposition, each wanting a different thing.
Corbyn probably understands the math even as he hopes for something else. Thus, he may not call for a motion of no confidence unless his plan gets backing (which as described above won’t happen).
Mike “Mish” Shedlock