Harman’s email to members contradicts LibDem leader’s claim – but neither responds when asked to comment on truth of either
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 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49367612) 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?
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 (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-49367612) 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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