Katy Balls

Theresa May warns plotters: Oust me and Brexit won’t get any easier

Theresa May warns plotters: Oust me and Brexit won't get any easier
Text settings
Comments

Theresa May's problems have not let up over the weekend. With speculation mounting about an impending confidence vote, the Sunday papers are filled with reports of leadership rivals sounding out colleagues while Dominic Raab – the former Brexit Secretary – has used an interview to tell May to stand up to Brussels' bullies (though he has since told Andrew Marr he will still back the PM in any confidence vote).

Appearing on Ridge on Sunday this morning, May tried to make the case for both her Brexit deal and her premiership continuing. She said that as far as she knew the 48 letters required for a confidence vote were not in. The Prime Minister went on to concede that not everyone was going to get their perfect Brexit but pointed to the fact her deal delivers on Brexit promises such as ending freedom of movement.

https://twitter.com/RidgeOnSunday/status/1064094963275841536

May was keen to look beyond the withdrawal agreement and move the focus to the future relationship. She said she would be in Brussels this week and that the conversations there be on the future trade relationship rather than the divorce deal. This touches on No.10's hope to win some Brexiteers round as more details become clear about what the permanent relationship will look like (if the UK manages to get out of the backstop).

Asked whether she thought there was something in studies which suggest women are given leadership roles at times of crisis, May would only say that what drove her to continue in the role was the British people; 'As Prime Minister, I'm here for the people of this country'. She called on MPs in Westminster to think about what was best for their constituents. And she also had a warning for the plotters:

'A change of leadership at this point is not going to make the negotiations any easier and it's not going to change the Parliamentary arithmetic.'

This was a solid performance from a defiant May. However, the same problems remain - while the Prime Minister's critics are yet to unite on an alternative plan, they can all agree that they don't like the deal on the table. Initial polling suggests that voters aren't all that keen on it either. That means that even if May clings on for the time being, she is no closer to getting this deal through Parliament.