By Ben Kerrigan And Sammie Jones-
Theresa May was the most pressurised woman in the U.K. for 2018, according to our thginktank team. The prime minister has been under so much pressure over a Brexit outcome she did not create, but has been committed to delivering.
Unfortunately for May, a large section of the British public is concerned with the challenges Brexit has been posing, and in particular what it would mean for ordinary Brits once Britain is actually out of the Uk. She has rebuffed all calls for a second referendum, although such a vote may clarify the present state of the British public on the troubling issue of Brexit. On the other hand, it could also make mockery of the British people since there is still a strong view that many still don’t understand what Brexit is about , and how it would affect them personally.
Recently, the prime minister deferred a meaningful vote among MPs on her Brexit deal so that she can seek “further assurances” from EU leaders. She acknowledged to the Commons, the “widespread and deep concern” over the controversial Irish backstop, which is designed to avoid a hard border, admitting her deal would be rejected by a “significant margin” if the vote was held.
May said she would “discuss with them the clear concerns that this house has expressed,” about the backstop with EU leaders in Brussels and with member countries. This was despite her clear rhetoric that the deal before her was the best available and none negotiable- a sentiment EU president Juncker has long stated himself.
May told MPs she was in “absolutely no doubt that this deal is the right one,” and believed there was a majority to be won in the house in support of it if she could secure additional reassurance on the question of the backstop. Controversial aspects of the deal, including the backstop, were “simply inescapable facts of having a negotiated Brexit,” she told MPs. Speaker of the House, John Bercow, at the time said the delay would be “thought by many to be deeply discourteous,” particularly since 164 MPs had already spoken in the debate.
He said that it would be “infinitely preferable” if the house were to have a vote on whether the meaningful vote on the Brexit deal should be delayed, rather than the government forcing that course of action unilaterally. In a “courteous, respectful and mature environment, allowing the House to have a say, its say on this matter, would be the right and dare I say it the obvious course to take,” he added. Jeremy Corbyn described the delay as “shambolic” , creating an “extremely serious situation.” With the meaningful vote now scheduled for January, May remains under enormous pressure.
Criticism from Mp’s, the opposition leader, and sections of the press, means May is under extreme pressure in a job that is very demanding. No prime minister wilfully and happily signs up to defend a messy and challenging situation they did not create. A smart solution to this Brexit chaos must be sought, but Theresa May is not really to blame for the stubborn and arrogant stance of EU leaders, in particular Jean Claude Juncker. Clear advice and options can be presented to Theresa May, rather than her mind being subjected to an endless assault of criticism over her handling of Brexit negotiations. Unless, the blame can be put squarely at her doorstep, it is better for the critics to also direct their anger and frustration at the retaliatory and hostile leaders of the EU.
The Democratic Unionist Party who’s MPs support the government under a confidence and supply agreement has made clear their opposition to the withdrawal agreement with the EU. The question now is what the best way forward in handling this Brexit crisis.