Theresa May: Leadership challenge will hamper Brexit negotiations

Theresa May: Leadership challenge will hamper Brexit negotiations

Kerry Wise
November 19, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May says if politicians reject her Brexit deal, it will set the country on "a path of deep and grave uncertainty".

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said any changes to the draft were unlikely.

While others suggested as Brexit secretary, it should have in fact been him who stood up to the EU.

Publication of the draft agreement led to the resignation of members of May's Cabinet, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab.

If a confidence vote is held and May loses, it would trigger a party leadership contest in which any Conservative lawmaker-except her-could run.

However, the backstop plan infuriated some of May's backbenchers as they believe would prevent the United Kingdom from entering into new trade deals with other countries, which they argue is one of the main benefits of Brexit.

The draft agreement envisions Britain leaving the European Union as planned on March 29, but remaining inside the bloc's single market and bound by its rules until the end of December 2020.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove, another so-called "Brexiteer", did not resign Friday despite speculation he might do so. And she brought former home secretary Amber Rudd, a stalwart of the Remain campaign in the 2016 referendum, back into the Cabinet to replace Ms Esther McVey, a Brexit supporter who quit on Thursday as Work and Pensions Secretary.

"I do think there is a point at which, we probably should have done it before, where we just say "I'm sorry this is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, we can not accept those dictated terms".

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Around 20 Tory MPs have publicly called for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, with more thought to have written to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee to call for a vote on her leadership.

She said: 'I have always had realistic expectations of what the deal would look like because it was an incredibly hard thing to negotiate.

'I think there is one thing that is missing and that is political will and resolve.

After the most tumultuous week of her premiership, which saw senior ministers quit over the draft divorce deal agreed with the EU, Mrs May said she would be heading to Brussels for talks on the "future relationship".

Much of the reason he said he wouldn't support Theresa May's deal was because it was "vague" and did not say enough about workers rights and environmental protections.

Tory whips met at Westminster yesterday to discuss building support for Mrs May ahead of a crunch no-confidence vote - expected to be triggered on Monday - which would oust her from Downing Street.

"He thinks what I am doing is important for the British people, though he doesn't put it like that".

However, if May is unable to get a deal through then a no-deal Brexit becomes the default position. In a letter to May she wrote that "It will be no good trying to pretend to [voters] that this deal honors the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn't".

News that a deal had been struck after a year and a half of negotiations was welcomed in Brussels, and European Union chief Donald Tusk called for a November 25 summit of leaders so they can rubber-stamp the agreement.