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Brexit news - live: 'Daft' Jo Swinson faces mounting backlash over refusal to back Corbyn plan to stop Boris Johnson forcing no-deal

Jo Swinson has again rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s plan to leader a caretaker government to stop a no-deal Brexit, claiming “the numbers don’t stack up” for the Labour leader in the Commons.

The Liberal Democrat leader’s position was described as “daft” by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon amid a mounting backlash against Ms Swinson’s intransigence.

Tory MP Guto Bebb backed Mr Corbyn as caretaker PM. Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng, meanwhile, said it was not “likely” Ken Clarke could take on the role an idea floated by Ms Swinson.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

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Here’s Jo Swinson putting forward Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman as potential caretaker PMs on the Today programme.

Energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng said he could not see Tory grandee Ken Clarke leading an emergency government despite claims by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson he would be prepared to take on the role.

“I’m a great fan of Ken Clarke,” the Tory MP told the Today programme.

He added: “I’m 44 years old, he was an MP before I was born, he’s been around for a long time, he’s very experienced. I think it would be an odd thing for him to lead a unity government you know, I think he’s nearly 80.”

“Frankly, I don’t think that’s likely. I think we will continue as a government. I don’t think that the Labour Party has the numbers for a no-confidence vote, and what we have to focus on is delivering Brexit on 31 October.

“All of this seems to me like speculation about Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman and all these people. I don’t see them leading a government. I think we have a prime minister and we’ll deliver on the mandate and the referendum of 2016.”

Here’s our deputy political editor Rob Merrick with more on rebel Tory MP Guto Bebb’s backing for the Corbyn plan.

‘A short-term Jeremy Corbyn government is less damaging than the generational damage that would be caused by a no-deal Brexit’

Nicola Sturgeon said Jo Swinson’s current position was “daft” at an Edinburgh Festival Fringe event on Thursday.

“I think that’s daft frankly for someone who professes to be so against Brexit. On the remain, anti-no deal Brexit side, we should be looking at all options and I’m not prepared to rule out anything before we’ve had the opportunity to explore it.”

“It doesn’t make me a great fan of Jeremy Corbyn, I can’t envisage a formal coalition between the SNP and Labour, but I would always try to work to put together an alternative to a Tory government.”

She added: “There are different ways that can be achieved. What Jeremy Corbyn has said today is by no means the only option.

“That is one way of potentially avoiding a no-deal Brexit, it’s not the only one. My view is that the consequences and the implications of a no-deal are so severe that we should be exploring all options and we shouldn't be ruling anything out.”

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Jo Swinson has claimed she “always” wanted to reach out to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to work against a no-deal Brexit after writing to him and offering to meet.

“I’ve always said I wanted to talk to him about it and I think that dialogue is really important between anyone who wants to stop a no-deal Brexit,” she told the Today programme.

But she did not shift her refusal to support his plan to lead a caretaker government after bringing Boris Johnson down with a vote of no-confidence, saying “the numbers don’t stack up” for him in the Commons.

“The people in No 10 – Boris Johnson and Dominic Cummings – they will be rubbing their hands that we are talking about a plan has no chance of success.”

Swinson also said Tory grandee Ken Clarke and former Labour leader Harriet Harman are both prepared to lead an emergency government to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

She said: “I have been in touch with them because obviously you don’t just mention people's names without checking that they’re OK with that.

“I mean, both of those are long-serving Members of Parliament, the most experienced MPs in the House, the mother and father of the House as they are called in the House of Commons."

“It doesn’t need to be them. If Jeremy Corbyn has got another suggestion of an experienced MP who has that respect across the House, let’s talk about it.”

Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of events at Westminster and beyond.

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