Brexit

The awkward coupling of May and Brexit

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When she came to power, Theresa May was seen as a balancing force between those who wanted to remain in the EU, and those who wished to leave as quickly as possible.

Despite being on the Remain side herself during the referendum, Theresa May quickly became committed to Brexit. May had time on her side, months drifted by, and still the Leave-friendly press supported her, even as little progress was actually made on the terms of Britain’s exit.

Then came a fatal mistake. Confident that her polling would translate to solid results, Theresa May called a general election, and then appeared to shoot herself in the foot. A robotic campaign and several gaffes along the way did not endear her to the electorate, and when the usually boring Jeremy Corbyn found his inner leader, the youth turned out and voted in droves for the first time since 1992.

As the results came in, it became clear that whilst the Tories were still the largest party, they were no longer the one with a clear majority.  A deal was struck with the DUP, and Theresa May came under the microscope for the first time. She was criticised for running a robotic and out-of-touch campaign, she removed her chief advisors and sought a reshuffle in the Cabinet. And, in true Tory style, the scheming began. Rumours floated around about Boris looking for a leadership bid, and yet all of that proved to be for naught. May changed her governing style and remained leader. There is only one reason for this: Brexit.

Brexit is one of the greatest issues to face Britain in recent times, and it is an issue that has always caused the Tory Party to self-destruct, or come as close to self-destruction as is possible for the Party. With Jeremy Corbyn’s surprising electoral performance still in their minds, a great many Tories do not want May gone.

Theresa May might not be well liked within the Party, others might think she is too stiff, but a large proportion seems believe that she needs to stay and see out the negotiation process for Brexit. For one simple reason: May has been there from the beginning. She knows the ins and outs (or at least they hope she does) and, as a result, her resignation would not do the Tories any good, as the potential infighting that would follow her removal would set them back in the negotiation process and harm their electoral chances.

Whilst May lost them their outright majority, the Conservatives did retain their place as the largest party in the UK, and with a great many MPs on both sides of the divide willing to see through legislation for the good of the country. May has managed to get through most of the Brexit agenda that has been presented in parliament. Even defeats can be seen as signs of victory for the Tories, as should something go wrong, there is always the fall back that parliament, not the government, hampered the process – a theme the Tories will probably to use in the next election.

May remains in power despite uncertainty. Whilst she may not be as charismatic as Boris Johnson, as hard-line as David Davis, or as conniving as Michael Gove, there is an image of her as being sensible. British businessesneed someone to offer reassuranceTheresa May, it appears is that person, for the time being, and so she remains in power.

May might have lost her majority, she might have lost the image she worked so hard to cultivate, but she has adapted, and she has made the situation work for her. With Brexit negotiations likely to carry on throughout 2018, and into 2019, she is likely to remain Prime Minister, for the stability and surety she offers the Conservative party.

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