British PM isolated as Brexit strategy hangs in the balance

March 25, 2019: Accused of presiding over an unprecedented national humiliation in her chaotic handling of Brexit, British Prime Minister Theresa May's hold on power appears increasingly endangered.

The Conservative leader has in the past won praise for her determination and ability to survive what has often felt like one long political crisis since the 2016 referendum vote to leave the European Union.

But her approach to the Brexit endgame, doggedly seeking to force through parliament her divorce deal despite MPs twice rejecting it and agreeing to delay Britain's planned March 29 departure, has prompted frustration and anger on all sides.

Following a particularly chaotic last week even for May's crisis-plagued tenure, speculation is rife late that Conservative colleagues are trying to force her to resign.

The Sunday Times reported she was “at the mercy of a full-blown cabinet coup”, with plans afoot for her de facto deputy David Lidington to take over in a caretaker capacity.

The newspaper said it had spoken to 11 senior ministers who “confirmed that they wanted the prime minister to make way for someone else” and planned to confront her at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

To May's critics, her uncompromising attitude in the face of a faltering strategy encapsulates her broader limitations as a political leader at this pivotal moment.

“At first she appeared to be a unifier, but she turned out to have too little courage, imagination or skill to lead the Brexit negotiations,” said a recent editorial in the Conservative-backing Spectator magazine.

It has reluctantly urged MPs to back May's unpopular deal, but only so that Britain could “turn the page on this unhappy chapter of our political history”.


Posted on: 2019-03-25T11:03:00+05:00