Jeremy Corbyn has come under new pressure from his own deputy to work with other parties to stop a no-deal Brexit in less than 80 days’ time.
He faced a joint plea from Tom Watson and Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson for opponents of the scenario to realise “we’re stronger together if we work together”.
The Labour leader’s allies have ruled out any kind of formal pact in a national unity government to ask Brussels to delay Brexit if Prime Minister Boris Johnson is ousted in a no-confidence vote.
In a surprising intervention while parliament is in recess and MPs plot how to block no deal, Mr Watson talked up the importance of cross-party support.
He said: “To stop [Mr Johnson], everyone who cares about democracy, our country and our future must work together because there are enough of us – from all parties in parliament – to stop him.
“First, that means working together to stop no deal, for which there is no majority in either parliament or the country.
“We can’t allow dirty tricks that would for example see the UK crash out of Europe with no deal during an election campaign.
“Second, it means working together to make sure – whether it’s before an election or afterwards – we solve this Brexit crisis with more democracy, not less democracy by having a final say referendum so that all the people have their voice heard.”
Speaking at a roundtable hosted by two youth groups supporting another referendum, Mr Watson added: “Whether you’re Liberal Democrats, social democrats or democratic socialists, we are all democrats.
“And democrats have got to realise in this crisis that we’re stronger together if we work together.”
Ms Swinson echoed the comments, saying the next two months were “no time for tribalism”.
She added: “That is why I am pleased to be here today with Tom to show that there is a desire across the political spectrum to stop Boris Johnson’s reckless no-deal Brexit plan and instead deliver a brighter future inside the EU.”
Mr Johnson has pledged to deliver Brexit on Halloween “do or die” and demanded Brussels reopen negotiations on the withdrawal agreement struck with Theresa May, which the EU has declined.
He has also insisted the “last thing” he wants is to call an election, but Westminster watchers have said his series of spending commitments on the police, courts and NHS mirror the build up to an election campaign.