Jeremy Corbyn has refused to say if he would support another caretaker prime minister, adding that Labour should be invited to form a government if MPs make it clear they have no confidence in Boris Johnson’s administration.
Asked whether he would step aside and support a government of national unity, Mr Corbyn said “the normal constitutional process” was that Labour should be asked to take power.
“Labour is the largest opposition party by far, that is the process that must be followed,” he said.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson suggested on Thursday that long-serving MPs Kenneth Clarke or Harriet Harman could lead a government of national unity to stop the UK leaving the EU with no deal.
Asked if the UK would benefit from a less divisive prime minister like Mr Clarke or Ms Harman, the Labour leader said: “What we need is a respect for the electoral process that brought about the result of the last general election.”
The Labour leader was speaking on a visit to Bolton after hitting back on Friday at Ms Swinson’s rejection of his plan.
Mr Clarke has said he would be willing to lead a government of national unity to avoid no -eal if “that was the judgement of people, the only way forward”.
Mr Corbyn wrote to party leaders and senior backbenchers about his proposal this week and it has the potential backing of the SNP and Plaid Cymru.
He wants to oust Mr Johnson from 10 Downing Street through a no-confidence vote, before forming a caretaker government that would seek a further delay to Brexit and arrange a general election.
Mr Corbyn also confirmed Labour would enter a general election committed to a referendum on the terms of leaving the EU, including an option to Remain.
Senior Tory MP Sir Oliver Letwin has also ruled out making the Labour leader PM, but he and a group of other Remainers – including former attorney general Dominic Grieve – have agreed to meet Mr Corbyn.
Ms Swinson has also said she will meet him but that his strategy is not “viable”.
Meanwhile, a YouGov survey of nearly 2,000 people has suggested 48% of Britons would prefer the UK to leave the EU without a deal and Mr Corbyn not becoming PM, than him taking power and holding another Brexit vote.