May Finally Throws in The Towel
After a brutal three year battle, during which time Theresa May was fought at every turn, the UK PM has now announced that she will resign her post as of June 7th. There had been increasing speculation over recent weeks following further severe defeats for May’s attempts at passing a Brexit bill.
Even after securing an extension from the EU until October 31st, the reaction to May presenting her new bill to parliament, ahead of a planned vote, was seemingly enough to defeat the beleaguered PM. Following May’s resignation, the big question that remains is, what does this mean for Brexit?
Conservative Party To Elect New Leader
In the first instance, the next step will be electing a new Conservative party leader (and de-facto PM). May has said that she will remain at the helm until the current leadership contest produces a winner. It’s important to note that the majority of the candidates oppose Brexit or wish to hold a second referendum.
There are currently 13 candidates up for the leadership bid, headlined by the favorite Boris Johnson. The group will then be narrowed down to just two final contenders. They will then be subject to a vote for the eventual leadership role.
Risks of a “No Deal” Brexit Have Increased
Consequently, the risk is skewed the other way with the potential for a leader who is more committed to delivering Brexit. This would increase the chances of a “no deal” Brexit. For example, candidates such as Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom have both made clear that they are not worried about a “no deal” scenario.
Furthermore, it would be incredibly difficult for MPs to prevent such a PM from pressing ahead with a no deal Brexit. The only way to ultimately block such a move would be through a “vote of no confidence”. However, given that the new PM is likely to have far higher support than May, this would seem unlikely to work.
New Tory Leadership Candidate Backs Second Referendum
While most of the conservative party is pre-occupied with deal or no deal, some Tory MPs are backing the calls for a second referendum. Former Conservative Universities Minister Sam Gymiah has joined the leadership contest. He calls for a second referendum to be held, giving the UK electorate a final say on the matter.
Gymiah told UK reporters “It is either no deal or revoke via a second referendum, possibly. But what most of the candidates are offering is no deal and fudge on Theresa May’s deal. A deal which has been heavily defeated.”
The new leadership candidate also said “Parliament is deadlocked, we all know that, we want to move forward and we want to be able to bring the country together… And that is why I think a final say on the Brexit deal is the way to achieve that.”
Conservatives To Deal With Brexit Ahead of General Elections
Following the conservative party’s UK wide defeat in the recent MEP elections, many have been calling for general elections to be held. However, any new Conservative leader is highly unlikely to make such a move given the dangerous new rise of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. The Brexit Party has mopped up support from those fed up with Tory party indecisiveness.
Farage returned to politics last month. He ran as an MEP and swept the polls with his party taking 31% of the vote. Both the Tories and Labour were beaten. Recent polls now suggest that Farage’s party would win a general election. As such, the Conservative’s will likely want to put the matter of Brexit to bed. This would be in order to regain support ahead of the next general elections. Currently, they favor a transfer of power to Farage.