MP urges 10 top female politicians to form cabinet of national unity to deliver a fresh referendum.
The Green MP, Caroline Lucas, propositioned 10 high-profile female politicians over blocking a no-deal Brexit, proposing a cabinet of national unity including the likes of Labour’s Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat leader, Jo Swinson and the former Conservative cabinet minister Justine Greening to seek legislation for a fresh referendum.
The move by Lucas is the first public offer to Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP, as well as Tory rebels, detailing who would lead a potential government of national unity and how it could be constituted with the explicit aim of delivering a referendum.
The Green Party’s only MP told the Guardian she was offering to broker a deal with female MPs from the main parties who would form a temporary cabinet if Boris Johnson lost a vote of no confidence – they would work together to stop no-deal and organise a second referendum.
Lucas responded to criticism of her all-female cabinet proposal, arguing that ‘women have shown they can bring a different perspective to crises’ after crediting female campaigners for initiating both the Northern Ireland peace process and the Paris climate agreement.
The move is likely to have a mixed reception in Westminster from some leading figures coordinating the anti-no deal planning in parliament, several of whom are not in favour of a second referendum, including Sir Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles.
She wrote: “It is hard to remember a moment in my life when Britain faced a greater crisis.
“A coup led by a small group of right-wing libertarians is all but complete, as the Vote Leave team has been reassembled and taken control of 10 Downing street.
“They are set upon implementing the most extreme no-deal version of Brexit – and, most terrifyingly, we are running out of time to stop them”.
Labour has ruled out backing a replacement government not led by Jeremy Corbyn, limiting the chances that the plan could succeed. Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary appears unlikely to back such a move.
The offer was sent to Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, former Tory Cabinet minister Justine Greening, Change UK MP Anna Soubry, the Independent MP Heidi Allen, the SNP’s Kirsty Blackman, the independent Northern Irish MP Sylvia Hermon, Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts and Yvette Cooper – the only one who does not explicitly back a second vote.
Anna Soubry told the Guardian she had reservations, although she supported the idea and Heidi Allen said: “Caroline is right to draw conclusion that often it’s us women who are prepared to get people round a table and work differently.
“We are facing the precipice of no deal, so we have to shed old ways of working, and fast. Women are by nature less tribal, so I’m very willing to play my part and try”.