John Bercow touted as possible leader of national unity government

Commons Speaker Mr Bercow announced he would be standing down last month. (Getty)

John Bercow has been touted as a possible caretaker prime minister as the opposition parties seek to form a “government of national unity”.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had planned to lead the new government, which would be comprised of prominent backbenchers from across the political spectrum.

But Mr Bercow has now emerged as the favourite to take control of the group, according to The Times.

“If none of the opposition party leaders are given roles in the cabinet, then it should allay Corbyn’s fears that his authority will drain away if he does not become caretaker prime minister,” a source told the newspaper.

Jeremy Corbyn has previously insisted that he should be the leader of the breakaway government. (Reuters)

Mr Corbyn has previously insisted that only he can lead a caretaker government despite not having the support of other opposition parties.

But a source reportedly said the current plans would involve the new government to be led by “clean skins”, MPs without loyalty to a single party, in order to maintain neutrality.

Shami Chakrabarti, however, dismissed the idea of Mr Bercow leading hte government of national unity as “fantasy football” during a television appearance on Sunday.

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The shadow attorney general said stopping a no-deal Brexit has to be the priority, and insisted there are no loopholes in the Benn Act, which is designed to avert such a scenario.

However, she warned that MPs will need to be able to properly scrutinise any deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposes.

Asked by Andrew Marr on the BBC about Mr Bercow becoming a caretaker-leader, she said: “If I may say so, we are now getting into almost fantasy football. I think it’s unlikely, I really, really do.”

She said once the Benn Act has been complied with, there should be a general election, “certainly this side of Christmas”.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay told Marr: “Getting Brexit done is the best way to get national unity in this country.”

Baroness Chakrabarti, however, questioned how Brexit can be achieved in compliance with the law, and warned that the Prime Minister speaks with a “forked tongue” on whether he intends to ask the EU for a Brexit extension.

She said the Benn Act was drafted carefully, and that Mr Johnson will not be able to lawfully take the UK out of the EU without a deal, or without Parliament’s approval.

She said: “It was drafted with great care after a great deal of co-operation across the House of Commons and it is very very specific and explicit about the personal duty on the Prime Minister to either get a deal through the House of Commons or persuade the House of Commons that no-deal is plausible, or he has to write a letter.

“The letter has been drafted and attached to the Act to the European Union asking for more time.”

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