It feels like check­mate for the PM

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Alex Chalk Con­ser­va­tive MP for Chel­tenham

AS I write this on Tuesday evening, my phone is lit as MPS from across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide line up on Twit­ter to trash Theresa May’s lat­est Brexit pro­posal.

Broadly speak­ing, there are three groups of peo­ple who want to re­ject it: those who want no deal, those who want no Brexit, and those who want to sow as much chaos as pos­si­ble to en­sure Jeremy Cor­byn is pro­pelled into Down­ing Street.

The ap­petite for com­pro­mise – what used to be the hall­mark of prag­matic and mod­er­ate Bri­tish pol­i­tics – has evap­o­rated. Brexit could be de­liv­ered by the sum­mer, and in an or­derly way that safe­guards jobs for peo­ple in Chel­tenham in busi­nesses rang­ing from Spi­rax Sarco to GE Avi­a­tion.

But in­stead, Brexit has be­come a bi­nary is­sue, and those on each side of the ar­gu­ment have climbed ever higher up their re­spec­tive bar­ri­cade.

Nei­ther wants to lis­ten to the opin­ion of the other, rais­ing pro­found ques­tions about the unity of our coun­try.

For the Prime Minister, I’m afraid this feels like check­mate.

I have huge ad­mi­ra­tion for her for­ti­tude and mental tough­ness. No one could have tried harder to de­liver this com­pro­mise deal.

But for many she has be­come part of the prob­lem.

She left it too late to reach across the po­lit­i­cal di­vide.

Trust has evap­o­rated, as has any abil­ity she may have had to con­vince or per­suade.

And once trust and cred­i­bil­ity goes, rarely can it be re­stored. Peo­ple sim­ply stop lis­ten­ing.

How­ever sen­si­ble a pro­posal might be, there comes a mo­ment when the rep­u­ta­tion of the per­son mak­ing it guar­an­tees its doom.

His­tory will judge how fair that is in Theresa May’s case. But in the pre­sent it can’t be dodged.

A new leader will have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to show how the will of the ma­jor­ity can be hon­oured while pre­serv­ing our coun­try and so­ci­ety in all its rich diver­sity. Oth­er­wise they will face the same fate.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.