Theresa May will have to fight for her political life in the coming days as a growing revolt from within her own party threatens to derail her plan for the UK to leave the EU. According to some news outlets, there may be as many as 48 letters of no confidence in the PM lodged with the Conservative 1922 Committee by lunchtime today. Already today we have seen the Northern Ireland Minister, Shailesh Vara, resigning saying he can in no way support the Brexit deal as it stands, believing it ‘leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation’. Naturally, the Labour party and the SNP has already said that it will vote against any Brexit deal.
All this comes after May somehow managed to win the approval of her senior ministers for the Brexit agreement, calling it a ‘decisive step forward’. Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator also believes decisive progress has been made but warned there is still a ‘long road ahead’. Speaking later, Barnier said ‘This is a very important moment. What we have agreed at negotiators’ level is fair and balanced, takes into account the UK’s positions, organises the withdrawal in an orderly fashion, ensures no hard border on the island of Ireland and lays the ground for an ambitious new partnership’ stating that his team ‘always followed the EU mandate scrupulously’.
To try to ‘sell‘ the deal to the wider public, Theresa May sent out Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, to various broadcasting studios (I can imagine he did not exactly jump for joy after receiving those instructions). He told the BBC ‘All MPs should vote for it because this deal is in the national interest’ adding ‘The two alternatives are deeply unattractive and as people read the detail of it and look at the deal in the round, rather than the bits and pieces that have come out in the newspapers during the latter stages of the negotiations, anybody in any compromise negotiated document can pick out individual parts that they would prefer were written differently’. Asked if there was a prospect of a second referendum, he believed that not only would it be ‘hugely divisive’ but also thinks ‘Why would people support the result of a second referendum when those who are proposing it are those who want to overturn the result of the first’.