Jeremy Corbyn has challenged opposition parties and Tory rebels to instal him as caretaker prime minister so he can call a general election and prevent a no-deal Brexit under Boris Johnson.

Jo Swinson dismissed the plan as “nonsense”, saying the Labour leader could not unite opposition MPs, before proposing either Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman as a more suitable caretaker PM.

But Labour MPs rallied around the plan, urging Ms Swinson to reconsider her position.

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The Lib Dem leader was branded “childish” by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner. The SNP, meanwhile, claimed they would work with Mr Corbyn, while a group of rebel Tory MPs said they were “happy to meet” him to discuss his plan.

Ms Swinson said she wanted to meet Mr Corbyn to discuss a solution to the Brexit crisis.

Meanwhile, the caretaker government plan has infuriated Tory MPs.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "I think it's absolutely extraordinary that any Conservative MP considered even for one minute installing Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

"Jeremy Corbyn would wreck our economy, he would destroy jobs and the livelihoods, savings, I think he also can't be trusted with security or crime and ... I just think that any Conservative should think very, very hard about doing this. It actually presents a very clear choice.

"You either have Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister overturning the result of the referendum or Boris Johnson respecting the referendum, putting more money into the NHS, more police on the streets to keep us all safe."

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Conservative MP Guto Bebb did break ranks to support Mr Corbyn's plan.

If you would like to see how the day's news unfolded, please see what was our live coverage below:

Good morning, and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of events at Westminster and beyond.
Here’s our deputy political editor Rob Merrick on Jeremy Corbyn’s dramatic bid to secure a Commons alliance to block a no-deal Brexit by pledging to become caretaker prime minister for a “strictly time-limited” period.
 

Jeremy Corbyn: Back me as temporary PM to block no-deal Brexit, then I’ll call a general election

Labour leader bids to head ‘caretaker’ cross-party alliance to secure Article 50 extension – with pledge to go to the country straight afterwards
A lot of reaction to Corbyn’s bold move. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has been quick to dismiss the Labour leader’s idea of becoming caretaker PM, saying he was not the right man for the job.
 
“Jeremy Corbyn is not the person who is going to be able to build an even temporary majority in the House of Commons for this task - I would expect there are people in his own party and indeed the necessary Conservative backbenchers who would be unwilling to support him,” she said. “It is a nonsense.”
 
There was cautious support from Plaid Cymru, with Liz Saville Roberts saying the party was open to a unity government regardless of who leads it, but that it must have “stopping Brexit” as its first priority.
 
The SNP’s Ian Blackford welcomed the Labour leader’s letter as he said the party would bring down the Tories in a no-confidence vote. “I will be pleased to meet with the Labour leader and others at the earliest opportunity to work together,” he said. “I can also confirm that the SNP stands ready to bring down this Tory government should Labour table a vote of no confidence motion.”
 
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, another recipient of the letter, also said she would back a no-confidence vote but said she wanted Corbyn to guarantee Labour’s support for another MP to lead a temporary government if his bid to govern fails.
 
Meanwhile, Change UK leader Anna Soubry expressed her disappointment that she had not been included in the letter and branded Mr Corbyn’s plan a “stunt”.
The former Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston – who defected from the Tories to Change UK before leaving to sit as an independent – has joined the Lib Dems.
 
Here’s Zamira Rahim with the details.
 
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Jeremy Corbyn has said it is not up to the UK parliament to block a second Scottish independence referendum.
 
However, the Labour leader said he does not think a second poll is a good idea, and that he would advise against it.
 
Corbyn told the BBC: “It’s not up to parliament to block it, but it's up to parliament to make a point about whether it's a good idea or not.
 
“I do not think it’s a good idea. My view is that I’m not in favour of Scottish independence; the referendum did take place and a decision was reached on that.”
 
“What I’d much rather is a Labour government given the chance to ensure that Scotland also gets the investment it needs, also gets the social justice it needs, and also gets the job opportunities for young people which have been denied.”
 
His comments are sure to provoke the ire of unionists north of the border after shadow chancellor John McDonnell was lambasted by Scottish Labour figures for saying the party would not block indyref2.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has issued a “plea” to Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson to back Jeremy Corbyn’s calls for a temporary government.
 
“What I would say is issue a plea to Jo Swinson particularly,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I know that Jo wants to avoid a no-deal situation, as we do, and we think this is the simplest and most democratic way of doing that.
 
“This isn’t an issue about personalities and politics, it’s not about implementing Labour policy; it’s about avoiding a no-deal situation arising and ensuring that a general election is called so, ultimately, the people can decide which government they want.”
 
Swinson had dismissed Mr Corbyn’s letter calling for parties to work together as a “nonsense”. Long-Bailey said: “I think it is sad Jo has made those comments, but I wouldn’t close the door completely.”
 
Asked when Labour would call a no-confidence vote, Long-Bailey said: “Certainly, we’ll back it in early September. Obviously, we won’t dictate which particular day that will happen on, but as soon as possible.”
 
She said she “suspected” it would be called “within days”, but declined to give a specific day.
We're expecting a flock of sheep is to be herded past government buildings by the new Farmers for a People’s Vote campaign group later this morning.
 
The stunt comes as the National Farmers Union (NFU) warns that more than half of farms will go bust if Boris Johnson forces through a no-deal Brexit.
 
Rob Merrick has more.
 

Half of farms will go bust if Johnson forces through no-deal Brexit, farmers warn

Farmers for a People’s Vote group is unveiled, as latest arm of the movement demanding a Final Say referendum
Jo Swinson would do anything to stop Brexit, but she won’t do *that* deal with Jeremy Corbyn. Our sketch writer Tom Peck – who is reporting from Swinson’s speech this morning – says it reminds him of the biggest-selling song of 1993.
 
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The shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has confirmed Labour will attempt to bring down Boris Johnson’s government within “days” of MPs returning to parliament on 3 September.
 
Here’s our political correspondent Ashley Cowburn with the details.
 

Labour will attempt to bring down Boris Johnson's government within 'days' of parliament resuming

Remarks follow Jeremy Corbyn's offer to become caretaker PM if Tory leader's administration toppled
US farming lobby bosses have said Britain must allow chlorinated chicken and the sale of genetically modified crops as part of any post-Brexit trade deal.
 
The magnificently-named Zippy Duval, head of American Farm Bureau, told the BBC that any fears we have about their farming practices were not “science-based”.
 
Duval said: “You know, here in America we treat our water with chlorine.
 
“So there is no scientific basis that says that washing poultry with a chlorine wash just to be safe of whatever pathogens might be on that chicken as it was prepared for the market, should be taken away.
 
“If there was something wrong with it our federal inspection systems would not be allowing us to use that.”
If you missed this one, the Home Office has come under fire after launching an anti-knife crime campaign focused on fried chicken shops.
 
Diane Abbott said it was “crude” and “offensive”, while fellow Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “What’s next, #knifefree watermelons?”
 

Anti-knife crime fried chicken boxes launched by government face criticism

‘Is this some kind of joke?! What’s next, #knifefree watermelons?’
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson has begun speaking at Code Node in central London – her first major speech as party leader.
 
She has said she is prepared to do “whatever it takes” to stop Brexit as she welcomed the party’s latest MP.
 
Swinson said she was “ready to work with anyone” to stop Boris Johnson and his “hardline Brexit Government” in her first major speech as party leader.
 
She praised Sarah Wollaston as a “formidable” MP and said: “I am so glad to have her by my side in our fight to stop Brexit.”
 
Swinson went on to say: “I'm determined to do whatever it takes to stop Brexit. I stand ready to work with anyone to stop Boris Johnson and his hardline Brexit government.”
 
Jo Swinson makes first major speech as Lib Dem leader (PA)
 
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Despite pledging to do “whatever it takes” to stop a no-deal Brexit, Jo Swinson doesn’t sound at all willing to put Jeremy Corbyn into No 10.
 
She has suggested that either Tory MP Ken Clarke or Labour MP Harriet Harman – who she describes as “the father and the mother of the House” – become caretaker PM.
 
If you’re wondering exactly how the SNP has responded to Jeremy Corbyn’s daring plan, the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford has said “the SNP stands ready to bring down this Tory government should Labour table a vote of no confidence motion”.
 
Blackford said he believes there is a majority in parliament against a no-deal Brexit.
 
“I think really what is important is we tackle the immediate crisis in front of us … and I do believe, I strongly believe, that there is a majority in parliament against no-deal,” he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
 
He added: “I believe that when we get back to parliament in the first week of September that we can bring forward legislation, we can do it through a mechanism called a SO24 application to stop no-deal. And that is what we should be focusing on.
 
“It’s not about, in this immediate case, who is prime minister, it is about stopping that act of economic self-harm that all of us would suffer from.”
Could it be Jeremy Corbyn is ready to do a deal with the SNP? The Labour leader has told the BBC he would not want the UK parliament to block a second independence referendum.
 
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said rebel Tory MPs were among those who “responded positively” to Jeremy Corbyn’s offer.
 
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More on Jo Swinson’s remarkable suggestion that Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman should be the caretaker PM in charge of any unity government.
 
“We are facing a national crisis,” she said during his speech. “We may need an emergency government to resolve it. But if Jeremy Corbyn truly wants that to succeed surely even he can see that he cannot lead it.
 
“There is no way he can unite rebel Conservatives and Independents to stop Boris Johnson. It is not even certain that he would secure all the votes of Labour MPs.
 
“This isn't about personalities, this is about having a plan that actually works. What we need in a leader of an emergency government is a long-serving Member of Parliament who is respected on both sides of the House.
 
“Someone like Ken Clarke or Harriet Harman - the father and mother of the House - they are hugely experienced and, unlike Jeremy Corbyn, or indeed myself, they are not seeking to lead a government in the long term.”
The Labour party’s chair Ian Lavery MP is angry, but not shocked, by Jo Swinson’s reluctance to meet with Jeremy Corbyn.
 
In response to Jeremy Corbyn’s proposal, Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on all opposition parties to “take this seriously” and “engage constructively”.
 
The Corbyn proposal is not good enough for Labour peer Andrew Adonis, a staunch opponent of Brexit. He would want the party’s leader to pivot “immediately” to a second Brexit referendum upon becoming caretaker PM.
 
“Jeremy Corbyn’s letter still doesn’t state that Labour will campaign for Remain in a referendum, or that a Labour government would move immediately to a referendum rather than attempting to renegotiate Brexit.”
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