Robert Peston

Why Margaret Beckett could become caretaker prime minister

Why Margaret Beckett could become caretaker prime minister
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Dame Margaret Beckett – the former Labour deputy leader and ex-foreign secretary – is emerging as the most likely compromise candidate to be caretaker prime minister, according to sources involved in opposition talks about ousting Boris Johnson.

As I mentioned last week, the Scottish National Party would be prepared to accept Jeremy Corbyn as temporary PM, with the express purpose of securing a three month Brexit delay and holding a general election.

But it has become clear in talks between the opposition parties that the Lib Dems and expelled or self-exiled Tory MPs won’t agree to install Corbyn as PM.

"We cannot win a vote of no confidence if Corbyn is the candidate," said a senior opposition MP.

"And there is no point having the vote if we are not guaranteed to win."

So there are exploratory talks to find a more unifying candidate, and Beckett has emerged as the front runner – because she is not seen by Corbyn and his close colleagues as a threat to his leadership.

That said, as I understand it Corbyn is yet to endorse the Beckett plan.

There is a growing concern among opposition MPs that if they fail to oust Johnson within days, he may outmanoeuvre them and secure the no-deal Brexit on 31 October they are desperate to prevent.

Robert Peston is ITV’s political editor. This article originally appeared on his ITV News blog

Written byRobert Peston

Robert Peston is Political Editor of ITV News and host of the weekly political discussion show Peston. This post originally appeared on his ITV News blog

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