Theresa May is still Britain’s prime minister this morning after surviving yet another day as a wholly unconvincing, ‘head of Brexit,’ aided by an opposition that fails to take advantage of the hand it had been dealt.
The latest May’s supremacy, a vote of ‘no confidence’ tabled by the opposition leader, saw rebel Conservatives and MPs from the all-important Democratic Unionist party, swing behind the prime minister to defeat the motion with a majority of 19.
May’s latest tactic is ‘to consult widely,’ she now exhorts MPs to put aside ‘self-interest’, and promises to listen to a wide range of views in the coming days during which she has to come up with a Brexit plan that suits the EU and British voters – a task long ago viewed as impossible.
Mr Corbyn initially was to join in the talks ‘under certain circumstances’ but with May sticking to her proviso that the ‘red lines,’ such as avoiding a customs union, remain immutable, Corbyn ducked out.
The prime minister said last night that she was disappointed that Corbyn has not chosen to take part in discussions so far, “but our door remains open … It will not be an easy task, but MPs know they have a duty to act in the national interest, reach a consensus and get this done.”
May now has five days within which to present parliament with an alternative Brexit plan, something that Brussels is keen to review as the clock ticks towards the March 29th deadline.
Labour may table further no-confidence motions as it remains keen to force a general election despite having no stated Brexit strategy of its own.
‘No confidence’ in Theresa May is palpable with a current strategy of ‘consulting different parties,’ leading to much concern that this should have been done two years ago and the intervening period has been one marked by indecision, poor interface with the European Commission and a domestic ‘countdown to Brexit’ campaign that has lacked intelligence, truthfullness and skill, leaving a divided electorate intolerant of politicians and polarised in their beliefs.
Corbyn’s angry speech in the Commons sums up the mood, “It is clear that this government are (sic) not capable of winning support for their (sic) core plan on the most vital issue facing this country. The prime minister has lost control and the government have (sic) lost the ability to govern.”
Michael Gove, responding with a blatant leadership pitch, praising the PM’s, “inspirational leadership” and rounded on Labour’s lack of foreign policy and alleged anti-Semitism.
Labour could be in the driving seat but is fumbling. It’s stated policy is to push for a general election, while fielding no Brexit strategies of its own.
If Labour fails to engineer a general election, it’s strategy consists simply of of being annoying, unconstructive and failing to strike home using the advantages it has been handed on a plate.
After yesterday’s defeat for Labour, Corbyn is likely now to feel a growing pressure for him to champion a second referendum.
He would have some serious backing as more than 170 business leaders, including Terence Conran and Norman Foster, have thrown their weight behind a new campaign for a second Brexit referendum.
There is said to be growing support for a “people’s vote” after Theresa May suffered the heaviest parliamentary defeat in the modern age. A letter due to be published in the Times today asks the party leaders to support a second referendum.
The Daily Express today reports anger at politicians from both sides, printing, “You’ve lost respect of the nation”, citing a poll that shows 72% of those asked want a complete overhaul of the UK political system in the wake of the Brexit vote.
The Financial Times this morning, prints, “May starts search for Brexit ideas after narrow confidence vote win,” suggesting, less than subtly, that it’s a bit late in the day to start searching for ideas, with ten weeks to go before Brexit.