What DO they think they’re do­ing?

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Brexit: The 'Soft Coup' - By GLEN OWEN PO­LIT­I­CAL CORRESPONDENT

THE ‘Brexit ul­ti­ma­tum’ from two of Mrs May’s most am­bi­tious and cal­cu­lat­ing Min­is­ters is the stark­est illustration of her strug­gle to main­tain dis­ci­pline in a Cabi­net riven with war­ring fac­tions.

Mr John­son and Mr Gove made their move in the wake of her calami­tous speech to the Tory Party Con­fer­ence.

De­spite their protes­ta­tions of loy­alty, they smelt weak­ness – and have seized the op­por­tu­nity to strike against the Re­main camp in Cabi­net, headed by Philip Ham­mond. The Brex­i­teers are in­fu­ri­ated by what they see as the Chan­cel­lor’s pur­suit of a ‘Brexit lite’ in which the UK shad­ows the sin­gle mar­ket for a long tran­si­tion pe­riod – which is why John­son and Gove have de­manded a set date for the end of the tran­si­tion. They have also been an­gered by Ham­mond’s re­luc­tance to spend money pre­par­ing for the chance of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which they say makes fail­ure in the Brus­sels ne­go­ti­a­tions more likely be­cause it ‘weak­ens our hand’.

There are already signs that the en­fee­bled PM has been forced to act on their de­mands: her pledge on Fri­day to en­shrine in law the start of Brexit is in the spirit of their call for a strict time­line for the tran­si­tion.

And last week’s an­nounce­ment that Mr Gove was join­ing a ‘war cabi­net’ of six pre­dom­i­nantly Leave­back­ing Min­is­ters plot­ting Bri­tain’s ne­go­ti­a­tion strat­egy fits with their call for No 10 to take greater con­trol of the Brexit process.

With the num­ber of Tory MPs who want Mrs May to stand down now close to 40, her grip on power is too frag­ile for her to re­sist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.