Labour has definitively ruled out opposition plans for a government of national unity as part of efforts to prevent a no-deal Brexit, City A.M. understands.
The rainbow coalition of anti-no-dealers, including a swelling tribe of Liberal Democrat MPs, has tried repeatedly to find a suitable candidate to lead a caretaker government in a bid to dethrone Boris Johnson and force an extension to Article 50.
Jo Swinson and team have rejected Labour’s argument that only Jeremy Corbyn could be at the helm of the GNU, instead suggesting pro-Remain Tory and father of the house Ken Clarke, or Labour’s Harriet Harman.
Multiple meetings have taken place between opposition parties, including the SNP, with a view to bringing forward a vote of no confidence but so far no agreement has been reached.
City A.M. understands Labour will not entertain further discussion of a GNU, with one source rubbishing it as “fantasy Cabinet chat”.
“This GNU thing is a massive distraction. We’ve never said we want a GNU. For us, it is not the nicest bit of nature in the zoo,” the source added.
The party would still consider a “Labour minority administration” to secure an administration, however.
The move comes as key Corbyn aide Karie Murphy has been moved from her role, coordinating the digital campaign for the expected general election.
The job change – which sees her swapping the leader’s office for Labour HQ – follows the resignation of Andrew Fisher, the party’s head of policy, in the middle of the Labour conference in Brighton last month.
Labour is seeking a meeting with key civil servants ahead of a general election, with a view to going to the polls once an extension to Article 50 is secured.
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