Theresa May Resigning in 2022
With a majority of 200 of her 317 MPs, British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a vote of confidence in her Conservative party on Wednesday evening. She announced that she is to be resigning for the next elections scheduled for 2022.
Earlier in the day at least 48 members of the House of Commons, the minimum according to the party statutes, had asked for a vote of no confidence. The resistance. of especially ‘Brexit hard liners’ to the deal that May made with the European Union last month, reached the zenith. May postponing the parliamentary vote on the divorce treaty earlier this week to prevent a humiliating defeat was the drop.
If May had lost the trust of her Tories, she would have been obliged to act as party leader and premier.
If May had lost the trust of her Tories, she would have been obliged to act as party leader and premier. Then, the ‘Brexit chaos’ would be completely derailed. The search for a successor would have taken weeks while Brexit’s March 29th deadline quickly approached.
The likelihood would increase for a hard liner like Boris Johnson to come to power, an economically disastrous no-deal break, and early elections to give the premiership to the hard-knot Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Many fear a silent majority of moderate Tories will choose the side of May. The fact that May no longer has to fear an internal attack for at least a year does not mean that she is suddenly seen as a suitable leader, or that her authority has increased. On the contrary.
By winning the vote of no confidence, May ‘flushed the extremists’ in her party, as her finance minister Philip Hammond put it. But the support of no less than 117 group members has been lost forever. And the rest chose May, but not necessarily for her Brexit deal.
This vote of confidence was yet another distraction that does nothing to change the crux of the case: the May government continues to grope in the dark with a Brexit deal that can never get approved. The more moderate and Europhile Tories are also opposed to the ‘backstop’ in its deal, which can keep the United Kingdom in the European sphere of influence for many years and, above all, give Northern Ireland a separate status.
All opposition parties, including the Northern Irish tolerance partner DUP, are equally opposed to the threat of attack on the unity of the British union.
So May went on a begging trip from The Hague on Tuesday to Brussels. Also, on Thursday at the EU summit she will beg for extra European concessions. But the message on this side of the Channel is clear: the Brexit negotiations are no longer reopened. What then?
Does May insist – if by mid-January she puts her deal to the vote – that the pressure of the swindling pound and other economic catastrophe become so great that the common sense of most MPs will prevail?
If it loses, however, the chances increase that the opposition, with the help of the DUP, will in turn summon a vote of no confidence against the May government and elicit elections. Or do the British still walk to the cliff of a ‘no deal’?
The parliament may soon intervene and take initiatives itself. This has been possible since an amendment by the Europhile Tory Dominic Grieve last week. But what initiative?
A second referendum that would split the country even more? An extension of Article 50 of the EU treaty, pushing Brexit to 29 March? Or yet the Norwegian option, in which the UK keeps the trade ties with the EU, without any say in Brussels?
For all these options there does not seem to be a majority, or appetite in Europe. Some say May has bought time and life retention this week. Rather it seems that she completely lost the plan of the Brexit labyrinth.
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