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Theresa May: Will Brexit bring her down?

Theresa May is in serious trouble over her plan for Brexit. In fact, there may be only one chance for her to put her plan into operation – but if she takes it, her humiliation will be complete.

Allow me to explain:

Tory Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab spent October 14 in talks with Michel Barnier, in a bid to resolve the “big issues” preventing agreement between the UK and EU27 on the terms of our separation at the end of March next year:

It did not go well:

Here‘s how The Independent covered the situation:

“A Brexit deal has not been struck despite “intense efforts” in Brussels on Sunday, Michel Barnier has said.

“Mr Barnier’s announcement immediately deflated speculation of a breakthrough in the difficult negotiations, following Mr Raab’s surprise trip to Brussels and the summoning of ambassadors to a meeting at EU headquarters.

“One of the most pressing issues is the Northern Irish backstop, a mechanism to avoid a hard border.

“The EU’s version of the backstop, which would see just Northern Ireland remain aligned with Brussels’ rules, has been called unacceptable by Ms May and is loathed by her DUP allies.

“Ms May’s counter-proposal is for a “temporary customs arrangement” for the whole of the UK, but Tory Brexiteers fear this could become an open-ended position which would prevent free trade deals with countries around the world.

“No further negotiations are planned before European leaders including Theresa May meet for a further summit in Brussels on Wednesday, according to a senior EU diplomat.”

Journalist and commentator Paul Mason paints an accurate word-picture of the situation, I think:

As the reports indicated, Mr Raab’s – and Theresa May’s – problems are not limited to disagreement with the Eurocrats:

The article refers to Mr Johnson’s latest column in the Daily Telegraph, in which he urged Mrs May to “stand up” to “bullies” in the EU. It also points out that Mr Johnson is the most likely to benefit from Mrs May’s humiliation, as he is considered the most likely to replace her as Tory leader (what a horrible thought).

On the other side…

This article refers to a tweet by Anna Soubry, who is currently an outspoken Conservative backbencher. She states:

This is – of course – a view that is diametrically opposed to that of Mr Johnson.

So we can see that the Tories are as bitterly-divided over the EU as they ever were, even though the referendum of 2016 was intended to end this conflict.

Clare Hepworth is right, but I would go further. She will never be able to reconcile the differing point of view.

So what’s her “one small hope”, that I mentioned in the headline?

Simple:

Named in the article are Gareth Snell, Ruth Smeeth, and Caroline Flint – to whom we may reasonably expect to add Kate Hoey, John Mann, Graham Stringer, and Frank Field – who resigned the Labour whip after a vote of ‘no confidence’ in him by constituency party members, prompted by this very issue.

But Aaron Bastani is correct – nobody who is serious about Labour regaining office can countenance this.

Labour’s pro-Brexit rebels (who also appear to be very much anti-Jeremy Corbyn) know that party members are keen to end the Parliamentary careers of MPs who do not support current policies, and may use the selection process in the run-up to a general election to choose new candidates.

Supporting Mrs May might seem a wise tactic – but another general election must take place sooner or later, and party members will not forgive what they will see as treachery.

Remember: The NHS is being sold off piecemeal, its patients’ health treated as commodities to be bought and sold; Universal Credit and the sickness and disability benefit system are leading to the deaths of many thousands of people; privatised utility companies are failing to deliver the services required at a reasonable price… The list of infamy goes on and on.

We need a change of government as soon as possible. Anybody in the Labour Party who helps prevent that will be signing a death warrant for their political career.

As for Mrs May – she’ll take all the help she can get, but the fact that she might have to get it from Labour rebels will be humiliating for her. Mortifying.

But she’s a Tory. She’ll accept any embarrassment if it keeps her in a position to inflict harm on you.

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