James Forsyth

Theresa May gets a Brexit lesson from Parliament

Theresa May gets a Brexit lesson from Parliament
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Today has been a reminder of just how hard getting the Brexit legislation through parliament will be for Theresa May. In the Commons today, various Tory MPs made clear their concerns about the EU withdrawal bill and the powers it gives to the executive. While the bill will pass easily at second reading, the government is almost certain to have to give some ground to get the bill through committee stage. Already there is talk about a compromise involving votes on statutory instruments on the floor of the House.

At the same time, there’s been the leak of a letter that is being circulated among clean Brexit Tory MPs which sets out that not only should the UK leave the single market and the customs union but that this country should be able to do trade deals throughout the transition. The letter is a reminder that if May goes too far to try and reassure those wanting a soft Brexit, she’ll have trouble on her right flank.

When you consider all this, it is—perhaps – unsurprising that, as I say in the magazine this week, nearly all Tory MPs have decided that Theresa May’s role is to see the party through Brexit. The consensus view among Tory MPs is that she should do Brexit, then stand down and allow a new leader a chance to make some progress on their own domestic agenda before the next election.