The great survivor hangs on
My most significant betting loss since the last election has been on Theresa May failing to survive 2017. This was placed in the aftermath of her disastrous conference speech last October which just seemed to sum up her whole predicament – trying to carry on after losing the party its majority.
We all recall the early hours of the morning of June 9th 2017 when the former Chancellor, George Osborne sacked pronounced on television that she was “a dead dead woman walking”.
Yet she’s still there nearly fourteen months later with the objective of remaining in place to at least March 29th next year when the article 50 process runs out and Britain is due to exit the EU.
One of the less commented features of her government is how she has survived almost all the critical Commons votes when on paper at least she was probably doomed. The progress of the Lords amendments to the Brexit bill was a case in points as was the recent trade bill.
This comes on top of the regular briefings by MPs who don’t give their names that a confidence move is in the offing if she continues to operate in a particular way. This has become such a regular feature and she just ploughs on.
Her approach to Brexit – honour the referendum outcome causing as little damage as possible to the economy might not satisfy the head-bangers but then nothing will. If they’d had the numbers to get her out they would have done so meaning their threats are all piss and wind.
She’s protected to some extent by the leadership reforms introduced by William Hague. Sure it only takes 48 letters demanding a confidence vote for one to take place but that’s not the end of the story. They need a majority, perhaps 155, MPs in the secret ballot to support it and if that doesn’t happen then she’d be immune from such a threat for a year.
Chequers has gone down like a bowl of cold sick but her opponents have failed to come up with any feasible alternative. They’re happy to snipe at her but not be constructive.
She’s also helped that just at this moment when she appears vulnerable Labour gets entangled up with its antisemitism row that for the Tories is the opposition dispute that keeps on giving.