Boris Johnson was the first to break ranks, attacking Philip Hammond and the Treasury as “Remain central” as Theresa May desperately tried to keep David Davis on-side with a fudged deadline for her fudged ‘backstop’ position on the Northern Irish border.
Mr Davis was threatening to resign again, and we are told Mr Johnson would have done the same if the Brexit Secretary had gone through with it. We all know this is just more hot air from Johnson as Mr Davis has cried “wolf!” in this way far too many times already.
But Housing minister Dominic Raab has branded Mr Johnson “silly” for claiming that Donald Trump could make a better job of Brexit, opening up another split in the government.
Mrs May, meanwhile, will address the backbench 1922 Committee on Monday evening (June 11) in a desperate bid to shore up her waning authority before her EU Withdrawal Bill goes before the Commons.
Former Tory Chancellor (and, let’s be honest, Remainer) Kenneth Clarke told the BBC MPs were holding her to ransom – Labour has urged Tory rebels to support the amendments put in place by the House of Lords and both Remainers and Leavers will be trying to use that against her.
He said “they are undermining her” and “would seek to replace her” if they weren’t held up by two factors – that most Tories would still back Mrs May in a no confidence vote, and they can’t decide on a successor.
This view tends to be supported by the actions of Remainer Amber Rudd and Quitter Iain Duncan Smith, who have jointly warned that any defeat of Mrs May could lead to the fall of the government and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn.
They stated that any failure to back Mrs May would “risk losing the precious chance to go on implementing policies that transform lives” – and we all remember how well Mr Duncan Smith fared in that respect – at the DWP he transformed thousands upon thousands of lives into deaths.
Tattle among the Tories suggests that confidence in Mrs May is not high.
The Mirror quotes one as saying, “She thinks she’s won. She’s f****d anyway. She’s toast.”
We’ve heard that before from disgruntled Tories. Trouble is, they like being in government too much to risk losing it.
And what of Labour? Many commentators have criticised Jeremy Corbyn for seeming opaque on the issue of Brexit. They miss the point.
Labour can afford to do only as much as is necessary to keep the Tories on their current path – because it is unworkable.
Mrs May cannot convince the warring factions of her own party to fall behind her plans (which are rubbish), let alone persuade the EU27 to support them.
She has no chance whatsoever of coming up with a workable deal before the date set for the UK to leave the EU – the end of March 2019.
The longer she tries to stay in office and save the situation, the worse it will become for her and the Conservatives who are supporting her. The result is inevitable.
All Jeremy Corbyn has to do is wait.
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