Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, has said he would look seriously at a credible new party or alliance to oppose the Tories, saying he would “write nothing off”.
Farron said his party, which has just eight MPs since the 2015 general election, could not sit back and defend its tribal interests at a time of national crisis.
“We have a historic opportunity to find a polar alternative to the Conservatives, which could make the 21st century one which is a lot more progressive than the 20th was,” he told the Independent.
Politicians in both the Labour and Conservative parties sat in what Farron called “completely and utterly false and uncomfortable coalitions” including the hard left to centrists in Labour and English nationalists to liberals and pragmatists in the Tories.
“In any other democracy in Europe those people wouldn’t be in the same party as one another – and quite a few would be in the same party as us,” he said.
Farron said that any move depended on the outcome of the Labour leadership contest, adding that he did not see a “happy ending” for the party.
Stephen Kinnock, the influential backbench Labour MP, vociferously denied reports in the Mail on Sunday that he was in discussions about forming a new party or alliance.
“There can be no question of any split in the Labour party. Its values and purpose are in my blood and I am striving to ensure that we have a leader who is a persuader not just a protester,” he said.
Owen Smith, the Labour leadership candidate, said a split in his party would be a catastrophe. “I will never let the Labour party split on my watch,” he told Sky News.
“For me it is the Labour party or nothing. No one can drive me out of this party and no one could persuade me there is any alternative for working people other than Labour. But those of us in this generation have got to fight to preserve that because it is in jeopardy today.”
The Green party has already called on Labour, the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru to form what it calls a “progressive alliance” of parties who could fight together to mitigate the effects of Britain’s exit from the EU.
This article was written by Jessica Elgot, for theguardian.com on Monday 18th July 2016 10.17 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010