May 23, 2019

Theresa May's Hollow Promise of Resignation

“In a meeting with Conservative members of Parliament this afternoon (March 27), UK prime minister Theresa May appeared to bow to the increasing pressure to resign. She promised to step down as leader and let someone else take over—if Parliament finally okayed her much-maligned Brexit deal.

Though the move was heralded by some as the only way to get hardline Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to back her exit proposal, leveraging her own unpopularity to win votes is a curious tactic from May. What’s more, it’s hard to see how the maneuver could ever bear fruit. For the deal to pass with a simple majority, May would have to not only win over every Tory MP, but also a significant number of MPs from other parties.

Labour will not back the deal, citing concerns around workers’ rights, immigration law, and trade; the Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats and other minor parties are almost certain to follow suit. The Northern Irish DUP, with whom the Tories are in coalition, also seem unlikely to capitulate. Moreover, a number of pro-Brexit Tory MPs have vowed in colorful terms never to support the deal: MP Steve Baker described himself as “consumed with a ferocious rage” by May’s promise to resign in exchange for their votes, and threatened to “tear this place down and bulldoze it into the river.” (He is said to have received a standing ovation and rare hugs for the speech.)”

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