14th December 2018
Mayhem Says She's Staying after Wave of Resignations for Her Unpopular Brexit!
By a press release (16/11/18)
A defiant Theresa May has stared down Brexiteer attempts to oust her and called for the country to unite as she fights for her political life.
In the face of increasingly unlikely odds, the PM has been hit by a wave of resignations and open rebellion among senior Tory MPs yesterday, leaving her administration on the brink of imploding and her plan to leave the EU in tatters. (Photo: Theresa May addressing a tense parliament yesterday).
In a tense speech from inside Downing Street, given after numerous letters of no-confidence in her were submitted, Mrs May said: "I believe with every fibre of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country and all our people. From the very beginning I have known what I wanted to deliver for the British people to honour their vote in the referendum."
The PM’s resilience in the face of widespread condemnation was marked, with her voice quivering as she began to speak. "Serving in high office is an honour and privilege. It is also a heavy responsibility - that is true at any time but especially when the stakes are so high." Her comments came after a chaotic day that had looked set to end more decidedly than it has.
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey - both Brexiteers - resigned on Thursday morning just hours after Mrs May secured Cabinet backing for her Brexit deal in a fiery meeting. Two junior ministers have also quit along with two ministerial aides and the party’s vice-chairman Rehman Chishti.
Significantly, the first concrete moves designed to topple the PM have also got under way as Jacob Rees-Mogg became one of many Tory MPs to submit a letter of no-confidence, bringing the prospect of a leadership challenge within touching distance. Forty-eight letters are needed to trigger a contest.
Fantastic statement just now by @Jacob_Rees_Mogg: "The negotiations have given away on all the key points. Leaving the EU is the most fantastic opportunity for the United Kingdom. It's being thrown away! This is a failure of government policy, it needs to be rejected!"
Mr Rees-Mogg said the country could have a new leader within weeks. Asked about possible successors, he named Boris Johnson, David Davis, Dominic Raab, Esther McVey and Penny Mordaunt.
During a defiant address to MPs on Thursday morning in the face of increasing adversity Mrs May said her draft deal was the only viable option, saying it was ‘this deal, no deal, or no Brexit at all’.
But by then her plans had already begun to unravel dramatically with Mr Raab becoming the first high-profile Cabinet minister to quit.
Theresa May is the Only Fan of Her Own Draft Brexit Deal
By Lewis Goodall, Sky Political Correspondent
Sky's Lewis Goodall says the PM's endurance is to be admired as she was forced to parry rhetorical hand grenades in the Commons. We haven't seen anything like it for a very long time. (Photo: Dominic Raab who resigned as Brexit Secretary yesterday).
There haven't been so many hostile interventions against a sitting prime minister from their own side since Neville Chamberlain's Norway debate in 1940. Chamberlain resigned shortly afterwards.
You had to admire the PM's endurance during questions in the Commons. She was forced to parry rhetorical hand grenades from every side of the House.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the prominent Brexiteer, even asked her directly why he should resist calling for a vote of no confidence in her leadership.
After an hour of debate not a single MP had spoken in favour of the deal. At times it seemed it had but a single MP speaking in its favour - the prime minister herself.
Arguably, the Commons showdown was an indictment of her Brexit strategy. Theresa May, perhaps understandably and rightly, attempted to chart a middle course between the Brexit armies.
She has devised a solution which has come to be seen as neither the hard Brexit that her most die hard backbenchers desired (and which they say, the prime minister led them to believe she would provide) nor the softest Brexit (or no Brexit) which Remainers crave.
The PM's gamble was that that middle course would please no one entirely but satisfy the requisite number of MPs just enough. She also assumed that the momentum of finally reaching a deal would eliminate resistance. PM's Brexit statement calls Brexit deal 'close' but not complete as a summit has been set for November 25.
The resignations of Dominic Raab and Esther McVey (with perhaps more to come) restricted that momentum. The House felt like a balloon without air. It is now clear that dozens of Tory MPs will not support the deal. It is also clear that she may face a leadership challenge.
Talking to Tory strategists and MPs who support the prime minister, they think their only hope is to convince Labour backbenchers in Brexit voting constituencies to support the deal.
One source remarked that many of those MPs, disliked by their local pro-Corbyn members, face deselection anyway and would not want to provoke the chaos of a no deal which would hurt their constituents. If that is their strategy, it is a highly problematic one. There are some Labour MPs who have hinted they might support the deal.
But if you imagine Labour MPs as a Venn diagram, separated into two circles between those in heavily Brexit supporting constituencies and those who have given up any future in the Labour party, the shared middle section is not as populated as Number 10 might like.
Rees-Mogg attacks PM in the Commons. The prospect of going back to their local parties, explaining that they not only facilitated Brexit but saved a Tory government and prime minister and nullified any real prospect of a general election until 2022 will not be an appealing one.
In any case, by my reckoning the PM is at least 30-40 votes short. There aren't that many Labour MPs swimming in that particular pond. Mrs May tried to chart a middle course, boxed in by her own early Brexit decisions. The result was today - the most extraordinary Commons statement for decades.
When she looked over to the Labour benches, on which she still rests her hopes, she might have seen the ghost of a Labour politician long dead, Aneurin Bevan.
His wisdom rings down the ages: "We know what happens to those who stay in the middle of the road - they get run over."