Katy Balls Katy Balls

Hell month – week III: Theresa May attempts to reset the dial

Theresa May is entering her third week of Brexit hell. With no resolution in sight on the issue of the Irish border and suspicion growing over No 10’s grand plan, the Tory party is looking more fractious than ever. As James notes on Coffee House, although every week there are reports of plotting and an incoming confidence vote, it does seem as though there has been a further deterioration of party morale that could prove the last straw.

In a bid to avoid that fate, May has penned an article for today’s Sun in which she strikes a more personal tone than usual and promises to press on:

‘Turn on the TV most days and you’ll find someone speculating about what the Brexit talks mean for Theresa May. Has it been a good day or a bad day for me? Am I up or down? ‘How are YOU doing Prime Minister?’ one journalist asked me recently. I didn’t reply at the time but I’m going to give Sun readers the answer now — and it’s very simple. None of this is about me. It’s all about you.’

The Prime Minister adds that things will most likely get worse before they get better – urging for patience as the ‘never-ending’ talks go on.

Will it do the trick? It’s unlikely to seal the deal either way. Instead May has a series of events she needs to successfully navigate this week if she is going to stop her party turning on her. Today she will address the House with a statement on last week’s unsuccessful EU council meeting and tomorrow she will hold a Cabinet meeting with ministers who are increasingly concerned about plans to extend the transition period. On Wednesday, after PMQs, May will face a Eurosceptic rebellion on emergency Northern Ireland legislation – with the European Research Group adding amendments aimed at making the EU’s preferred Northern Ireland backstop impossible to bring into force.

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