It’s May-day for the PM as British parliament votes on Brexit
A FLOUNDERING BREXIT DEAL THAT THREATENS TO LEAVE NOBODY SATISFIED IS THE LATEST CHALLENGE FOR THERESA MAY, WRITES ELLEN WHINNETT IN LONDON
SHE has survived scandals, losing majority government, mass Cabinet resignations and an attempted coup by Tory rebels. Her Conservative government has been found guilty of contempt of Parliament for the first time in British history.
But on Tuesday, Prime Minister Theresa May will face the greatest challenge yet to her survival when the British Parliament votes on whether to endorse her plan for how Britain should exit the European Union.
Every sign points to the deal being voted down, although by what margin is unclear.
What is clear is that next week is shaping up to be a monumental one in British politics, which could end with a Brexit deal, a snap general election, a second referendum, a no-deal, off-the-cliff-edge Brexit, or even a new prime minister.
May, 62, has until Tuesday to convince hostile Members of Parliament that her Brexit deal is the best that they’re going to get.
“We should not let the search for the perfect Brexit prevent a good Brexit that delivers for the British people,’’ she said this week.
So heroically lacking in charisma that she’s known as the Maybot, May has eschewed any phony charm offensive and instead gone for pure pragmatism, urging MPs to “do their duty’’ and deliver the results the people voted for in 2016 when they voted, narrowly, to leave the European Union.
Senior lecturer in Government at the University of Essex Tom Quinn says next week looms for May as “the most serious threat to her premiership to date’’.
“It is hard to see how she survives the fall of a deal in which she has invested so much political capital,’’ Quinn told News Corp.
“It is not yet clear what the Plan B is if May’s deal fails, but whatever it is, it would almost certainly need a new prime minister to advocate it.’’
Britain’s first female prime minister since the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, May won the Tory party leadership in 2016 after David Cameron quit in response to the Brexit referendum result.
Her rival, Andrea Leadsom, stood aside after a newspaper interview where she intimated she would make a better prime minister than May because May didn’t have children. (May has previously spoken of her sadness that she and husband Phillip May were unable to conceive.)
May had voted Remain, although professed to being a “Eurosceptic’’, and the price of winning the Tory leadership was the job of trying to manage Britain’s divorce from the European Union after 45 years.
Untangling the tens of thousands of laws and regulations which keep the UK bound to the 27 other countries of the bloc has brought her to the brink of political oblivion numerous times, and her latest deal, which legal advice shows would potentially tie the UK to the EU “indefinitely’’ through a backstop, has succeeded in uniting Brexiteer and Remainer MPs against her.
It is hard to see how she survives the fall of a deal in which she has invested so much political capital
University of Essex’s Tom Quinn
Anti-European Union (EU), pro-Brexit demonstrators from the Leave Means Leave campaign group protest outside London Houses of Parliament last week; May with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the G20 Summit (top).