Jo Swinson was “taken apart” during a tense interview with BBC’s Today programme host Sarah Smith, according to social media users. The Liberal Democrat leader appeared on the programme to talk of her decision to reach out to Jeremy Corbyn over the possibility of collaborating to prevent a no deal Brexit scenario. Ms Smith challenged Ms Swinson over her U-turn as she previously branded the suggestion to work with Labour “nonsense,”: “That’s a suggestion that was initially dismissed by the new Liberal Democrat leader as ‘nonsense’ but since then she’s written to Mr Corbyn offering to discuss how their parties can work together.
“You’ve changed your tune pretty quickly. You’ve gone from saying Jeremy Corbyn’s idea is not a serious attempt at trying to find the right solution to say you want to talk to him about it.”
The BBC presenter continued: “It’s not encouraging when you call someone’s ideas nonsense, is it, which was your initial response.
“Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the Opposition. If the only way to form an alternative government is to have him leading it, what is your objection to that? He has more MPs than any other party in the House other than the Tories. He is the leader of the largest opposition party. It makes sense for him to lead a caretaker government.
“There are former Tory ministers who said they are prepared to discuss this with Jeremy Corbyn and there are plenty of Labour MPs who are not ready to support anyone but the leader of the Opposition on this caretaker government. Nicola Sturgeon says your opposition to working with Jeremy Corbyn is daft.”
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Ms Swinson defended her decision, pointing out she reached out to other parties before recess but insisted her proposal to legislate for a further extension would be a more functional solution than forming a caretaker government as proposed by Labour.
She said: “I think we need to focus on how we can actually succeed in stopping no deal because the clock is ticking. And I think it’s good to talk to other parties and I’ve been doing that all summer and I encouraged Jeremy Corbyn to table a vote of no confidence which he didn’t do.
“The plan I put forward, to pass a law to require an extension of Article 50 to have a people’s vote, or it may well be we require an emergency government, I have suggested that perhaps may be led by an MP who has long served in the House, very experienced, and has respect on both sides of the house.
“To stop a no deal Brexit, you need to win votes in Parliament and at the end of the day politics comes down to can you add up? Can you work out where those votes are coming from?”
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The Lib Dem leader added: “We’ve already had seven or eight MPs on the Opposition benches saying they could not support his leadership of a caretaker government. Change UK MPs have made that clear so we’ve already got people on the Opposition benches who said they can’t do that.”
But despite her attempts to defend her position, BBC audience dismissed her performance as a “car crash interview” and “out of her depth.”
One social media user wrote on Twitter: “Absolute car-crash interview with Jo Swinson on @r4Today right now. Schadenfreude.”
Another said: “Surprise! Jo Swinson floundering + out of her depth here. Something we must all get used to hearing.”
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Another praised Ms Smith for her interviewing skills, saying: “Well done Sarah, taking Swinson apart.”
And one more user simply said Ms Swinson was “not coming out of this well.”
Jeremy Corbyn reached out to other opposition leaders to propose the formation of a temporary caretaker government to keep Prime Minister Boris Johnson from delivering a no deal Brexit on October 31.
The Labour leader also pledged to table a vote of no confidence in Mr Johnson “at the earliest opportunity,” to then seek the support of the house to form a new government.
He wrote: “Following a successful vote of no confidence in the Government, I would then, as Leader of the Opposition, seek the confidence of the house for a strictly time-limited temporary government with the aim of calling a general election, and securing the necessary extension of Article 50 to do so.”
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