'Juvenile' Corbyn walks out of cross-party meeting after Independent Group members invited

20 March 2019, 20:37 | Updated: 21 March 2019, 09:30

Jeremy Corbyn has been called "juvenile" after walking out of a cross-party meeting when he discovered members of The Independent Group were involved.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable told Sky News that Mr Corbyn refused to take part in the meeting at the prime minister's office as former Labour MP Chuka Umunna and ex-Tory Anna Soubry were there.

The Labour party claimed it was "not the meeting that had been agreed" and the "terms were broken", after Mr Corbyn proposed holding bilateral talks with Theresa May during PMQs.

Speaking to Sky News, The Independent Group member Mr Umunna said the UK is in "crisis situation" and members of different political groups should come together to discuss Brexit.

He said: "I think it's really extraordinary behaviour for the leader of the opposition to behave in this kind of juvenile way when the moment demands that we all step up and engage in some serious dialogue to try and find a way through this chaos."

Mr Umunna added that the Labour leader would have to explain his actions and other MPs have criticised Mr Corbyn for refusing to engage in the meeting.

SNP's Stewart McDonald told Mr Corbyn to "get a grip" and likened his behaviour to the hit teen comedy Mean Girls.

He tweeted: "I mean honestly, nine days until the country he wants to be prime minister of leaves the EU and @jeremycorbyn has gone full 'you can't sit with us'.

"This isn't Mean Girls. Get a grip of your life, man!"

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who is tipped to become Sir Vince Cable's replacement as leader, said the incident was "sad" and "depressing".

She said: "Jeremy Corbyn this evening channelling a teenager who doesn't get his way. A sad, depressing way to conduct politics."

A statement from the Labour party said: "Downing Street is in such chaos that they were unable to manage their own proposed meeting.

"We are in discussions with Number 10 about holding the bilateral meeting with the PM that Jeremy proposed at PMQs."

However some MPs who were present at the meeting described a lack of progress.

Sir Vince Cable said they were "just going around in circles" and accused the prime minister of not "listening or responding in any flexible way".

Former Conservative MP Anna Soubry added that the contents of the meeting was "disturbing stuff" and said Theresa May is "absolutely prepared for Britain to leave the European Union without a deal".

Earlier on Wednesday, the prime minister asked the EU for a delay to Brexit until 30 June.