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Excl: Harman denies Swinson’s claim they spoke about interim PM position

Harman’s email to members contradicts LibDem leader’s claim – but neither responds when asked to comment on truth of either
Jo Swinson, left, and Harriet Harman

Earlier this month, the BBC and other media outlets trumpeted LibDem leader Jo Swinson’s claim that both veteran Tory Ken Clarke and former stand-in Labour leader Harriet Harman were ready to ‘lead an emergency government’.

“I have been in touch with them because obviously you don’t just mention people’s names without checking”

But Swinson was very clear that she was not basing her statement on any assumptions, claiming that she had spoken directly to the pair about the matter:

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.

They put public duty first and they don’t want to see a no-deal Brexit…

If the House of Commons asks them to lead an emergency government to get our country out of this Brexit mess and to stop us driving off that cliff to a no deal, then yes, they are prepared to do that.

Worried by the idea that their MP had been involved in such discussions without telling them and without the approval of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Labour members in Harman’s Camberwell and Peckham constituency wrote to her last week to ask her to confirm her actions and intentions:

Jo Swinson’s widely reported comments were that she was attempting to put together an alliance of politicians within the House of Commons to form a government outside the formal structures of the parties themselves. Jo Swinson alleges that you were part of these talks, and happy to take a leading role in any such temporary government which might be formed.

[We have] neither seen publicly nor received privately any reassurance from you that these reports are untrue. We have been prompted by a number of local activists and residents to clarify that, under no circumstances, would you would seek to undermine our party by having such talks….

we would… appreciate confirmation from you that you have not participated in any talks to date that have excluded our democratically elected leader, and confirmation you would not do so in the future.

Three days later, Harriet Harman emailed the members with a response in which she insisted that she had not been involved in any such discussion with Jo Swinson. In fact, she claimed that the only talks with representatives of another party were with the Tory government when Corbyn was also involved and encouraged her to participate:

It’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which Harman’s statement is anything other than a direct contradiction of Swinson’s claim that she did talk to the Labour back-bencher – so the SKWAWKBOX put the question to Harriet Harman and to the LibDems:

Ms Swinson said ( that she had been in touch with Harriet Harman and Harman had indicated she would ‘lead an emergency government’.

Harriet Harman has denied having any such discussions with Jo Swinson. Both cannot be true. How do the LibDems respond?

Ms Harman,

You’ve told your local members that “I have not participated in any talks [with Jo Swinson or others] that have excluded our leader and would not do so.”

Ms Swinson said ( that she had been in touch with you and you had indicated you would ‘lead an emergency government’:

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. They put public duty first and they don’t want to see a no-deal Brexit.  If the House of Commons asks them to lead an emergency government to get our country out of this Brexit mess and to stop us driving off that cliff to a no deal, then yes, they are prepared to do that.”

Clearly, your claim and Jo Swinson’s are mutually exclusive. Is her claim to have spoken to you untrue?

A whole day after the enquiries, neither had responded. Local Labour members remain concerned. The corporate media have failed to pick up the discrepancy, let alone challenge either claim.

Where does the truth lie?

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  1. The more interesting question is “Where does the bigger lie lie?”
    I doubt either of them is being entirely truthful.

    1. Spot on David two peas in a pod,not just pathological misfit,but both of them are politically indistinguishable from each other…..Get the right wing out of the Labour party!

  2. If what Harman has said is true, she should come straight out and accuse Swinson of lieing. If she does not do that her position is ‘doubtful’.

    1. I agree entirely. I think the fact that Harriet Harman she did not deny the reports that she was willing to act as temp PM at the outset speaks volumes.I see she still has not done so.
      I am always very sceptical when people don’t properly address an issue and chose instead to communicate in convoluted denials.
      If Harriet really was unwilling to usurp Jeremy by acting as temp PM she should say so in plain language otherwise we will have to draw the obvious conclusion – that she was prepared to instigate/participate in another coup against him.

      1. PS Harriet denies she was engaged in any closed door cross part talks between Labour and Tory back benchers and the Lib Dem leadership. She does NOT deny that she had private meetings with Jo Swinson (or anybody else) at which the issue of her taking over as temp Pm was discussed .I trust her CLP will press her on this issue

  3. Why would Harman lie to her Lab members? Because maj of MPs treat Lab members like the shit off their shoe. They couldn’t give a toss. They will do or say anything in order to keep their place on the gravy train.

    1. Harman.. Has had her day…….like all the rest of the disgusting right wing its time for them to leave with dignity,are be thrown out kicking and screaming… Their time has passed with the blair years and hanging on is degrading and shaming… Ps take Dromey with you… another relic!

  4. Ps….just to be clear on the above I want Harman and the right wing out of the Labour party and not just replaced as an mp,or her treacherous colleagues in parliament… They are relics of bygone days of corruption inside the Labour party!

  5. Hummm , jury is out on this one imo.
    I think one has to be aware that due to all the lies being spouted by a lot of politicians as a matter of course , that we don’t dismiss what MIGHT and I stress might be true .
    Strange tho that Harman didn’t make this clear as soon as Swinson made the original claim of talks taking place , I know I would’ve .
    This is typical of what makes people so very suspicious of politics and MPs in general , its the simple lack of trust and honesty that has crept into the whole thing over the years and more so in recent times with the newer generation of ” careerist politicians ” so very representative of the Blairite era.
    We need ,as a Party , to be selecting good ordinary reps like Chris Williamson , Laura Piddock , Laura Smith , dare I say it normal working class folks and this is the problem for us on the Left , the pool of choice seems small and I don’t know why with over 500K members ?

    1. Rob We lead by example….Harman shoved two fingers up to socialism when not long after Blair was elected she sent her children to private schools to get ahead of the constituents that paid her wages.Unfortunately after that it became normalised for Labour politicians to exclude private life hypocrisy from politics just like any good actor or comedian regarding who they essentially are!And the final insult for me was …one of our most stalwart politicians who supports jerremy Corbyn explained Why she had to follow Harmons Apartheid education for here own children…..I never felt so badly betrayed by a fellow socialist?

  6. Harman denies that she has been involved in any ‘closed door talks’

    That doesn’t preclude on-the-hoof conversations or telephone calls.

    Of course, if such occurred and form the basis of Swinson’s exaggerated claim, the appropriate response of any PLP member is ‘Don’t talk wet’. -????

  7. Why has harman kept schtum until her constituents have written for answers?

    Because it was another ‘wimmin’ what put her up for it, I reckon. Harman can’t get enough of all that ‘girl power’ bollocks. She’d rather privately back swindle than publicly back Corbyn and has only done so because of being forced into a corner.

    Had it been a phallus-wielding male oppressor made the claim she’d have screamed blue murder

    The sooner the likes of mizz harman and her complete dullard of a ‘husband’ are punted, the better.

    1. Toffee
      ‘girl powered BOLLOCKS’
      I agree there should be no more all woman lists, there is no need to positively discriminate in their favour anymore, they are now fairly judged on how good they are at the day job,
      In Harmans case, she was a lost cause a long time ago
      Methinks local members will use this as part of the deselection process

    2. Toffee if we had a proper NEC that reflected the wishes of our membership…We would stand behind Harman and Label Swansong a pathological liar.We would then after a fair hearing(Chris Williamson style) remove Harman from the Labour party for Plotting against the leader of the Labour party and collaborative efforts to destroy the membership and the Labour party…..But thats just a dream…WHY?

  8. Meanwhile the Brexit no-banana banana ‘democracy’ descends to deeper and deeper levels of farce as Fuhrer Toad seizes ‘control’ as the fan base claps their flippers.

    A lesson in being careful of what you wish for.

    1. If your talking about Dominic Cummings glove puppet cannot wait to see him on the campaign trail,
      Accident waiting to happen, Eton mess all over the walls, he can barely remember the message never mind believe a word of it,
      They are already parroting large parts of Labour manifesto, so its a GE in October, time to get off fat arses and hit the tarmac

      1. But Doug, an Eton mess is posh – and that impresses a fair proportion of the electorate. It’s really interesting to overhear conversations at present.

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