Could Theresa May be the politician to lead the ‘Out’ campaign in the European Union referendum? James examined this prospect in his politics column recently, and Westminster watchers have been trying to pick up clues as to whether the Home Secretary is preparing to support leaving the EU. Today she gave very little away on the Andrew Marr Show, but it was what she didn’t say that was the most telling.
May insisted that the most important thing at the moment was that Britain did the renegotiation. ‘Let’s do this renegotiation, let’s see what reform we can bring about as a result of this renegotiation,’ she said, adding that the question at the moment was ‘what is our relationship within the European Union’, not whether Britain could flourish outside it. But at no point did she talk about the benefits of staying in, or the risks of leaving. David Cameron has done the latter, with his warnings this week about there being no land of milk and honey’. But May didn’t.
Neither did she rule out joining the ‘Out’ campaign at any point. Whether it’s because she believes it wouldn’t be politically wise, or because she does still have to adhere to collective responsibility, May is clearly keeping her options open.