As the Tory whispering campaign grows, the future looks bleak for May

Posters of Theresa May showing her eyes blanked out
Fréa Lockley

Theresa May’s days as prime minister might be numbered. Whispers and rumours are growing. But this isn’t necessarily a reason to celebrate. Because the alternative could be far worse.

“It has started”

ITV‘s political commentator Robert Peston claims “It has started”:

Peston is referring to May’s bid to overturn, in just one 12-hour session, 15 amendments made by the House of Lords to the EU withdrawal bill. On 4 June, Peston said in a Facebook post:

it more than beggars belief that today she announced she would be rolling the dice in the biggest parliamentary gamble I can recall being taken by any PM of modern times.

Many have criticised May’s vote, suggesting it is “dictatorial”:

Some have called it shameful:

“Pawn of parliament”

According to Peston, “the odds of her winning look slim”. Because rebel Tory MPs “met and think they have the votes to defeat her”. Alongside Labour and the SNP, there is widespread support for the UK to stay in a customs union. And as Peston explained:

they want a parliamentary vote on whatever Brexit deal she ultimately negotiates with the EU to be “meaningful” in the sense that MPs should be able to instruct her to return to the Brussels negotiating table.

In what Peston called the “biggest issue facing the country now or at any recent time”, May also runs the risk of becoming:

the pawn of parliament, not its leader. To describe her in those circumstances as a lame duck would probably be an insult to the limping quackers.

The amendments set to come before parliament are significant:

Tick tock

Rumours are spreading among many Tories which suggest that May’s position is fragile:

And evidence suggests that she lacks confidence from party members. Because on 3 June, a survey conducted by Conservative Home found that almost two thirds of Tory members lack confidence in the government’s handling of Brexit.

But the bad news doesn’t end there.

On 5 June, another Conservative Home survey found that May’s leadership rating was negative. She’s gone from a +56.4 approval rating in March to -9.5.

But this isn’t necessarily cause for celebration. Because the same survey showed Michael Gove in the lead with a +72.5 rating, followed by Sajid Javid with +70.4, and Esther McVey in third place with +54.7.

Concern

It does look like the clock is ticking for May. But if there’s a leadership challenge looming, we should all be worried. Because with Gove as prime minister, the future could look even bleaker for the UK.

Or perhaps this might be enough to topple the government entirely.

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Featured image via Matt Brown – Flickr

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