NICOLA Sturgeon has branded Jo Swinson “daft” for ruling out a cross-party bid to temporarily install Jeremy Corbyn in Downing St in order to block a no-deal Brexit as she warned time was running out and called on MPs to get their act together.

The First Minister’s criticism came as the Liberal Democrat leader suggested veteran MPs Ken Clarke and Harriet Harman would be willing to lead a unity government at Westminster to stop Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal on October 31.

HeraldScotland:

Opposition leaders are expected to meet before the end of the month ahead of the return of MPs from their summer break to plot a way forward to stop Boris Johnson from instigating a no-deal Brexit.

Last night, the Prime Minister took to Twitter to restate his position, saying: "The referendum result must be respected. We will leave the EU on October 31.”

Earlier, there was a deal of anger within Labour ranks after Ms Swinson rejected out of hand Mr Corbyn’s offer of collaboration to successfully pass a no-confidence vote in the Conservative Government, which would lead to a “strictly-limited” caretaker Labour administration, that would seek another extension from the EU and then call a snap general election.

Angela Rayner, the Shadow Education Secretary, accused the Lib Dem leader, of “party political game-scoring,” insisting the Scot did not get to choose who the leader of the Labour Party was.

“Our leader is Jeremy Corbyn and she should respect his title as the official opposition. He’s got the support of his MPs and we are the biggest opposition party,” she said.

Ms Sturgeon suggested that putting Mr Corbyn in No 10 for a short period was "one way of potentially avoiding a no-deal Brexit" but noted it was not the only one; MPs passing a law to block a no-deal was another.

“The consequences and implications of a no-deal Brexit are so severe that we should be exploring all options and we shouldn't be ruling anything out," declared the FM.

She said she believed there was a Commons majority against a no-deal but noted: “What is less certain is whether that majority can get its act together…and agree an action plan. And time is running out."

Ms Sturgeon added: “Jo Swinson of the Liberals has said: 'Oh no, I wouldn't back the Jeremy Corbyn option.' That's daft, frankly, for somebody who professes to be so against Brexit."

But the Liberal Democrat leader maintained that it would be a “waste of time” to try to put forward Mr Corbyn as the head of an emergency government to stop a no-deal Brexit because he was such a divisive figure, who could not attract the necessary Tory rebels to bring down Mr Johnson’s government in a Commons vote.

In her first speech as her party’s leader, Ms Swinson said: “Mr Corbyn is demanding the keys to No 10 as a precondition for a vote of no-confidence. We are facing a national crisis. We may need an emergency government to resolve it. But if Jeremy Corbyn truly wants that to succeed surely even he can see that he cannot lead it.

"There is no way he can unite rebel Conservatives and Independents to stop Boris Johnson. It is not even certain that he would secure all the votes of Labour MPs.”

The Lib Dem leader suggested Mr Clarke, the former Conservative Chancellor and Ms Harman, the former deputy Labour leader, as the longest-serving MPs could provide the leadership for an emergency government.

Last night, she told Channel Four News that she had spoken to them and that, given their sense of public duty, she was confident that if they were asked to lead a unity government, they would be “up for that”.

Asked directly if they had told her they would be prepared to do this, Ms Swinson replied: “They are willing to do this,” adding that was her “understanding”.

The East Dunbartonshire MP responded to Mr Corbyn’s letter to fellow opposition leaders urging them to fall behind his plan, making clear she believed it was “not viable” and so could not support it.

But she added she was “keen to meet in the coming days to discuss how our parties can work together to stop no-deal and[see] who else might be able to lead an emergency government”.

Meanwhile, Tory Remain rebels Dominic Grieve, Oliver Letwin and Nick Boles agreed to meet Mr Corbyn about the way forward. However, Caroline Spelman, another Conservative recipient of the Labour leader’s letter, indicated she would not back his plan, saying: “I could not support a Corbyn Government, end of.”

Mr Grieve also said that while he was happy to speak to the Labour leader about ways in which they might "co-operate" to stop a no-deal Brexit, he made clear a national unity government led by Mr Corbyn was a "most unlikely way forward", noting how the London MP held views which were "entirely abhorrent" to him.

The former Attorney General added: "The idea that Jeremy Corbyn could provide leadership for what would effectively be a government of national unity seems to me to be rather improbable.”