“If you are not able to provide the subsistence we need to secure this deal, in the rights and interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that it was necessary to step down, ” May told Johnson in her received in response to his resignation letter .
In Parliament to defend her strategy Monday, May was savagely criticized by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, whose party is rapidly entering election mode
in the hopes that the government — which only has a one seat majority in parliament — will shortly breakdown .
“At such a crucial time for our country in these vital negotiations, we need a government that is capable of govern and negotiating for Britain, ” Corbyn said, to loud acceptance from the opponent benches. “For the good of this country and its people, the government needs to get its act together and do it quickly, and if it can’t, make way for those who can.”
May is in the bizarre situation of fending off assaults from Corbyn, utilizing him as the bogeyman to stave off Tory party rebels
, and potentially depending on his party for elections to pass any Brexit legislation .
The deal agreed at Chequers last week — which has yet to be put to the EU — represents a far softer vision of Brexit than many of the hardliners in May’s party have publicly pledged to pursue, setting the stage for a significant uprising from the Tory backbenches .
In an sentiment piece Monday
, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a resulting anti-EU figure promoted by some Conservatives as a future party leader, said if the Chequers deal was presented to Parliament “I will vote against( it ), and others may well do the same.”
“If they plan to get this bargain through on the back of Labour votes, that would be the most divisive thing that they can do, ” Rees-Mogg told the Guardian
after reports a senior May aide had briefed opponent MPs on her Brexit scheme .
While Labour has advocated a “soft Brexit” which retains many of the benefits of the EU — chiefly the customs union and single market — there is no insure Corbyn’s party would support May’s strategy when it could capitalize on a fractured government to leapfrog into power .
“Theresa May has enabled us to kicked the can down the road on a number of occasions, but now she has run out of road, ” Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer wrote after Johnson’s abdication
“It is now day for the majority in parliament to be heard. It’s a majority that repudiates the extreme approach to Brexit advocated by some in the Tory party. The prime minister has shown she is incapable of negotiating a way forward. She should let parliament lead the way.”
As if attempting to balance negotiations with Tory rebels, opposition figures, and European ministers was not enough, May could also face a leadership challenge in the coming days or weeks .
Johnson invited photographers to witness him signing his abdication letter to May, earning him a prominent posture on the front page of the right wing Daily Telegraph, under the headline “The Brexit dreaming is dying.”
His theatrics will do nothing to quash distrusts that he hopes to replace May as leader, even as Rees-Mogg said
Johnson would make a “brilliant prime minister.”
A leadership challenge can be sparked by 48 MPs writing to the Conservative’s influential 1922 Committee, and while aides of May have been briefing the press that she is confident of fending off any such election, it is surely not something she enjoys .
The potential wild card in all of this is the Democratic Unionist Party, the group of hardline right wing Northern Irish MPs upon whom May depends for her parliamentary majority .
While the DUP are seen as supporters of a “soft Brexit, ” deputy leader Nigel Dodds sounded a warning
over the Chequers deal in Parliament Monday, telling his party would not subsistence any agreement with the EU that includes a so-called “backstop” clause on a hard Irish border .
All parties to Brexit negotiations have stated a wish to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which currently have no boundaries thanks to EU free movement statutes, and in December May agreed that in the absence of any other solution, Northern Ireland would remain in “full alignment” with EU regulations
While negotiations regarding this issue are ongoing, the EU has insisted the UK agree to full alignment as a legally binding “backstop” clause to ensure there is never a hard border .
This is unacceptable to the DUP, who have vehemently repudiated the idea of special traffic arrangements in Northern Ireland, which they fear would create a border between the country and mainland Britain, emboldening Irish opposition parties who favor to intervene in the Republic .
“We greeted the Prime Minister’s commitment to ensuring that the Brexit deal in no way weakens the United Kingdom, but it is also vitally important that the EU’s interpretation of the backstop is repudiated and ensure there is no border down the Irish ocean, ” Dodd said this week .
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