TOM Watson has increased pressure on Jeremy Corbyn to work with the Liberal Democrats to prevent an “undemocratic and disastrous” no-deal Brexit under Boris Johnson.
The deputy Labour leader’s comments came as Jo Swinson, the Liberal Democrat leader, said she would work with Mr Watson despite her consistent criticism of the Labour leader over his Brexit stance.
Senior figures within Labour have ruled out working in a cross-party alliance to prevent a no-deal departure as the Prime Minister prepares to leave the EU by October 31, regardless of whether a deal is in place.
But Mr Watson took a different line as he spoke alongside Ms Swinson at an event by For Our Future’s Sake and Our Future Our Choice, two youth movements campaigning for a second referendum.
“We cannot tolerate an undemocratic and disastrous no-deal being forced on the country by Boris Johnson,” declared Mr Watson.
“To stop him, everyone who cares about democracy, our country and our future must work together because there are enough of us – from all parties in Parliament – to stop him.”
The MIdlands MP added: “Whether you’re Liberal Democrats, social democrats or democratic socialists, we are all democrats. And democrats have got to realise in this crisis that we’re stronger together if we work together.”
John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the Shadow Business Secretary, have both said Labour will not work in any pact with other parties.
Instead they say Labour can win a majority at a general election, which may be looming.
Ms Swinson has previously criticised Mr Corbyn as “indecisive” over Brexit, following calls for the Labour leader to firm up his party’s stance towards a second referendum.
But at the event she said she would work with other parties to prevent a “disastrous” deal-less departure.
“Boris Johnson and his Cabinet are now actively pursuing that dangerous path, and I am committed to working with others across party lines in Parliament to stop no-deal Brexit,” insisted the East Dunbartonshire MP.
“This is no time for tribalism. That is why I am pleased to be here today with Tom to show that there is a desire across the political spectrum to stop Boris Johnson’s reckless no-deal Brexit plan and instead deliver a brighter future inside the EU,” she added.
Mr Corbyn has said he will call for a vote of no confidence in the Government this autumn in an attempt to prevent a no-deal.
Meanwhile, the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign said 50 Constituency Labour Parties had voted to submit a motion for Labour’s annual conference which would shift party policy towards an explicitly anti-Brexit position.
The campaign, led by left wing grassroots groups Another Europe is Possible, Labour for a Socialist Europe and Open Labour, has phonebanked thousands of party members and run meetings across the country under the banner of “Remain, Reform, Revolt”.
Naomi Smith, Best for Britain’s chief, said: “Labour Brexit’s position was unclear for too long but has come on leap and bounds in the last few months – in no small part thanks to overwhelming grassroots pressure across the country, such as these important CLP motions.
“We need to stop Brexit so we can start addressing the real issues facing our country from the NHS, to schools’ funding and the climate crisis,” she added.