MERIDEN Tory MP Dame Caroline Spelman has ruled out supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s push to prevent a no-deal Brexit by electing him temporary Prime Minister.
Dame Caroline – who has long campaigned to avoid no-deal – was sent a letter by the Labour leader yesterday (August 14).
She was one of four Conservative MP Brexit ‘rebels’ who received it, along with leaders from the main opposition parties who support remaining in the EU.
Mr Corbyn implored them to support him in a vote of no confidence, and make him PM on a ‘strictly time-limited’ basis, so he can force an election and EU chiefs to delay Brexit.
His manoeuvre has been welcomed by some party leaders of major ‘remain’ parties but rebuffed by the Liberal Democrats’ Jo Swinson.
The ex-cabinet minister Dame Caroline – who voted remain in the EU referendum in 2016 – told us in response to our questions: “The result of the referendum should be respected and leaving the EU with a deal in place will best position us to take advantage of the opportunities Brexit presents.
“A ‘No Deal’ Brexit would threaten our regional and national economy, putting manufacturing jobs in the West Midlands at risk.
“I will continue to warn about the risks of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, whilst supporting the government in its policy to leave the EU with an agreement in place.
“I would, of course, support the government in a confidence vote. A general election would not be in the national interest.”
We asked Dame Caroline whether there is any alternative route to preventing a no-deal that she would support, but she did not provide an answer.
It is rumoured fellow Tory MP ‘rebels’ – that are against a no-deal or leaving the EU – including former attorney general Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and now independent MP for Grantham and Stamford Nick Boles, will meet with Mr Corbyn.
Brexit campaign group Leave.EU had suggested that Dame Caroline would join them, but her communications team told us they knew nothing about any meeting.
In the referendum, 56 per cent of constituents from Solihull – which includes Meriden – voted to leave.
Mr Corbyn in his letter said: “Our priority should be to work together in parliament to prevent a deeply damaging No Deal being imposed on the country, denying voters the final say.
“The government has no mandate for No Deal.
“I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success.
“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.
“In that General Election Labour will be committed to a public vote on the terms of leaving the European Union, including an option to remain.”
Conservative PM Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU without a deal by October 31 – but claims his first priority is to secure a withdrawal agreement with Brussels.