Emily Thornberry says Labour could bring down the UK Government within weeks

Written by Kevin Schofield on 10 November 2017 in News

The shadow foreign secretary said the UK Government was “so fragile” anything could knock them over

Westminster - Image credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour "could bring down the Government at any time", Emily Thornberry has declared.

The shadow foreign secretary said her party must be prepared to seize power within weeks.

Her comments, in an interview with the House magazine, come at the end of another torrid week for Theresa May, which saw the departure of another Cabinet minister and further controversies surrounding other members of her top team.

Speaking as she prepared to travel to Israel, Thornberry said she had been told by Labour bosses that she had to be back in London for the Commons returning from a mini-recess on Monday.

"We could bring down the Government at any time so we have to be here at all votes," she said.

Asked when she thought the next election will happen, the Jeremy Corbyn ally said: "They’re not going to last five years, but whether it’s weeks, months or years, no one knows.

“This is unprecedented. As a minority government, to stay in power you don’t do anything controversial.

"Well how’s that going? It could be something major like Brexit, but it could be something that we just don’t predict and seems relatively minor at the time.

"They’re so fragile that anything could happen to knock them over, and we need to be ready to go."

Elsewhere in the interview, Thornberry launched a bitter attack on Boris Johnson, who is at the centre of a fresh row over a gaffe which could see a British national jailed for another five years in Iran.

She said: "Too often he seems to be behaving as if he’s in some form of dinner party and making jokes which are offensive and undermine our standing.

“What he said about clearing the dead bodies in Libya, calling some of our friends in Europe the same as concentration camp guards, I could go on.

"This is not diplomacy, this is not improving Britain’s standing in the world. This is hitting the headlines, focusing on the joke, and frittering away good will towards us."

Thornberry also played down speculation that she could be the next Labour leader, following reports that Unite general secretary Len McCluskey would back her in any future contest.

She said: "I want to be foreign secretary in a Labour government, and that will be up to the prime minister to decide. I think there is so much to do and I think we could do so much good.

"I find it inspiring. I feel as though we spent two years fighting about who is going to be leader of the Labour party.

“This is now settled, Jeremy will be leader for the foreseeable future. He will be prime minister.

“Let’s focus on that and focus on getting Jeremy into Downing Street."

 

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