James Forsyth

Why Theresa May should say she’ll go once her Brexit deal is passed

Why Theresa May should say she'll go once her Brexit deal is passed
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Right now, Theresa May’s Brexit deal isn’t passing the House of Commons. I argue in The Sun this morning, that Theresa May needs something to change the dynamic.

What would do that? Well, if May said she would stand down once the withdrawal agreement was through, that would change things. It would separate off the question of how May has handled the Brexit negotiations so far, from the issue of what parliament should do now.

If May pre-announced her departure, it would enable MPs to vote for the deal without that being an endorsement of her handling of Brexit or an invitation for her to go and negotiate the next stage of Brexit, the UK/EU trade deal.

Interestingly, one Cabinet Minister tells me that May is now an impediment to this deal passing. Her announcing her departure would make it easier for MPs to vote for it.

Allies of May dismiss the idea of her saying she’ll go if the Brexit deal passes out of hand. But she needs to do something if she is not to see her deal voted down, increasing—as she herself says—the chances of either no deal or no Brexit, both of which would be bad for the country.

In Wednesday’s marathon Cabinet meeting, one of the Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s arguments for accepting the deal was that it would be possible for the UK to claw things back in the second half, the actual UK/EU trade negotiations.

But, as any football fan will tell you, a team that’s trailing badly at half time doesn’t change things round by simply sending the same team in the same formation back onto the pitch.