Belfast Telegraph

EU Brexit summit will either save the Theresa May's bacon or cook her goose

With relentless daily attacks on her Brexit proposals and fierce Tory critics out in force, how much longer can Theresa May last?

Prime Minister Theresa May faces a decisive week
Prime Minister Theresa May faces a decisive week

By Chris Moncrieff

Is the Prime Minister moving inexorably towards breaking-point? She remains firmly committed to her controversial Chequers proposals for Brexit, while an increasing number of Tories - including some ministers - are calling on her to abandon her plan.

It is like the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object - a political explosion is now beginning to look inevitable, with all the dire consequences that could generate.

On top of all that, a growing number of Tories are demanding a vote of confidence in her leadership - only a handful short of the number required to force such a vote.

To make matters even worse, David Davis, who quit as Brexit Secretary over this very issue, is effectively calling for a mutiny of those Cabinet ministers who do not like her proposals.

Meanwhile, the irrepressible Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries has bluntly called on May to quit and be replaced as interim leader by Davis.

The garrulous Dorries, who can never be accused of mincing her words, has already publicly made clear that she'd like to see Boris Johnson eventually take over her reins permanently.

"I say it (the call to resign) in sorrow, because I was delighted when Theresa May was (made) Prime Minister and I have been saying for many, many months to people: 'Trust her, she will deliver'," Dorries said.

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"Sadly, she has let me down and she's let other people down, because she isn't delivering; she isn't delivering, because she has handcuffed herself to this Chequers deal.

"My personal belief is that we need somebody who can invigorate the party, who can articulate the sunny uplands, who can tell us what all the great opportunities that are going to be there. Theresa May is not doing that."

All this leaves the Prime Minister in a "no win" situation. If she backs off, or waters down her Chequers proposals, it will be seen as an act of gross weakness, from which it would be difficult to recover.

Or, if her Tory opponents get even nastier, then her entire political future could be in jeopardy.

The leading Tory Brexiteers challenging her policies continue to insist that they are attacking those policies and not the individual. But they must surely realise that, if she is defeated on a vote of confidence, it could be curtains for her.

It all crucially depends on what Theresa May brings back from the critical EU summit later this week. That could, to mix the odd metaphor, either save her bacon or cook her goose.

So, how is Labour faring in dealing with a Conservative Party at Westminster and beyond in a state of turbulence and shambolic disarray? For them, it should be a glorious open goal.

But they too are engulfed in internal squabbling over the anti-Semitism issue and the actions of the hardcore Left movement Momentum, which appears to be embarking on a course of culling moderate MPs from constituencies and replacing them with Left-wing candidates.

So, what is happening is that Labour are wasting their energies on fighting each other, thus weakening their ability to fight the Tories when they, the Tories, are at their lowest ebb.

The problem is that Jeremy Corbyn appears to be taking little notice of what Momentum is doing, which is hardly surprising because he is hard-Left himself. But Momentum's actions are surely damaging the party by forcing Left-wing majorities on constituency parties and, thus, by political force, changing the face of the future parliamentary party.

When Militant tried to infiltrate Labour in the 1980s, then-leader Neil Kinnock managed, by superhuman efforts, to eliminate them.

But that is not happening today with Momentum - and Labour may pay a high price if their activities are allowed to proceed unchallenged.

They have been warned.

The Prime Minister gleefully announced the end to austerity in her much-acclaimed Conservative Party conference speech. The next we heard were reports that judges are to be given a huge rise.

So, she's as good as her word? Well, I spoke to a district nurse the other day. She said her pay rise amounted to around £30 a month.

Not exactly the end of austerity for her.

Experts have expressed alarm at the state of the fabric of the Palace of Westminster and a multi-billion-pound plan to make the building safe is being drawn up.

But since the problem is supposed to be urgent, why will it still be a few years before the work gets under way?

I know it is a huge job to move out the thousands who inhabit the palace on a daily basis, but if it is as bad as is claimed, why cannot they get the wheels in motion much more quickly?

The place is supposed to be crumbling in parts, so every year that passes unchecked it becomes more dangerous and more expensive to put right.

So, get a move on.

Belfast Telegraph


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