British Prime Minister Theresa May ends the week in disaster. She faced a coup attempt, she blundered through her speech to the Tories at their annual convention, and she’s got the political chops of a five year old.
The Tories are divided over what to do about the Brexit, with those who want a hard break, (which is what the voters wanted) and the others who want to do a “soft break” and essentially remain inside of the European Union.
This is happening all the while a surging Labour party is waiting in the wings for the conservatives to fail, allowing them to take over. And Theresa May’s blunderingly stupid political instincts may very well end up granting the Labour party’s wish.
WITH crucial German and French elections out of the way, this was the moment when talks on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union were supposed to get serious.
Yet, while things look steadier in Berlin and Paris, Britain is suffering repeated aftershocks from last year’s referendum decision to quit the 28-nation bloc, the latest of them threatening to engulf its prime minister, Theresa May, who is fresh off a calamitous, accident-strewn speech on Wednesday.
On Friday, Mrs. May, who presides over a warring cabinet, faced down a coup attempt from a group of her own lawmakers, following the debacle at her Conservative Party’s annual conference, where her speech was interrupted by a prankster and she was plagued by a persistent cough and a malfunctioning stage set.
“You can’t just carry on when things aren’t working,” Grant Shapps, a former chairman of the party, told the BBC, as he called for Mrs. May to stand aside. “The solution is not to bury heads in the sand,” added Mr. Shapps, who claimed to have support from around 30 fellow plotters, including five former cabinet ministers.
But it was not at all clear that a change of leadership could help resolve the arguments over Brexit, as the withdrawal is known, that are tearing apart the Conservatives, or that it would leave the government any more prepared to negotiate with the European Union.
The week was in almost all respects the worst of all worlds for Mrs. May and the beleaguered Tories. As the pound sterling sank amid the political chaos and increasingly downbeat economic news, Mrs. May’s desperate political weakness risked undermining her credibility as a negotiating partner.
“In the European Union they are looking at this in an incredulous way, wondering how they are managing to go so deep into chaos,” said Ulrike Franke, a policy fellow in Berlin for the European Council on Foreign Relations, a research institute, adding that Britain’s political problems would be amusing if they were not so serious.