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Polls of Tory members have shown they hate and fear Corbyn more than even the threat of the break-up of the UK or of Brexit not happening at all. This is a totally irrational position for them to take, but then politics is often more about emotions than rationality. Right now its about not handing a victory (however temporary) to someone they hate and fear.

Rationally it shouldn't matter all that much who is the temporary caretaker PM as long as he/she requests and receives an A.50 extension long enough to call an election and possibly a referendum thereafter - and then actually calls the election.

Someone like Ken Clarke would be ideal to attract dissident Tories because of his Tory pedigree, ministerial experience, and (presumably) lack of personal ambition. Conceivably he could even offer not to stand in the election so he can "focus exclusively on his caretaker PM responsibilities" and not pose a threat to anyone else's PM ambitions.

However Corbyn is also in an exceptionally strong negotiating position, because only he can deliver the vast bulk of the votes required to elect any temporary PM. He may therefore feel no need to reward another Tory and can satisfy the minimal Lib Dem/dissident Tory demand that any temporary PM be not Corbyn by nominating his own choice as long term successor as leader of the Labour Party.

I don't know who his choice of potential successor might be, but provided it's not a hard-left choice also unacceptable to dissident Tory and Labour MPs but widely acceptable within the Labour party (and ideally the wider public), it doesn't much matter who it is. All anti-no deal Brexit MPs would be let off the hook of having to support Corbyn and be able to rally to the support of "anybody but Corbyn or Boris" on the grounds that it is a temporary appointment in the name of a greater cause.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 16th, 2019 at 11:11:18 AM EST
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