When Will Theresa May Resign?

Theresa May Caricature

Credit: DonkeyHotey

It was a speech full of misplaced confidence and hubris.

When Theresa May announced she was taking to the stand late on Wednesday evening in an extraordinary public appearance, most expected big news to follow.

Was the Prime Minister going to announce that a Brexit deal had been agreed in principle? Or was she going to resign?

In the end, she did neither. Her speech was simply an effort to curry favour with the public, with May telling us she was on our side.

And at the same time she stuck the boot into her fellow politicians, blaming them for the delays in the Brexit negotiations.

The PM is off to Brussels today to recommence talks with EU representatives, and she will be desperate for an end to the stalemate.

She will also make a direct plea to EU leaders for a delay to Brexit of up to three months, which would take us to June 30.

But arguably what is more interesting is if they refuse her request, or insist on a longer delay past that nominal June date.

At that point, it would be quite likely that the Prime Minister would resign her position.

May Fights Back Against Rebel MPs

There was a hush of anticipation at 10 Downing Street as the Prime Minister took to her lectern to speak.

Incredibly, she launched into a scathing tirade against her fellow politicians, while speaking directly to the Great British public.

“Of this I am absolutely sure. You, the public, have had enough,” she said.

“You are tired of the infighting, tired of the political games and the arcane procedural rows, tired of MPs talking about nothing else but Brexit when you have real concerns about our children’s schools, our National Health Service, knife crime.

“You want this stage of the Brexit process to be over and done with. I agree. I am on your side.”

It’s a remarkable position to take, and quite who advised the PM to speak out against the common party line remains to be seen.

Was it an attempt to strengthen her own position at the head of the Conservative Party?

She then turned on her fellow MPs, telling them it was ‘now time to decide’ whether they wanted to leave the EU or not.

“So far Parliament has done everything possible to avoid making a choice,” she continued. “All MPs have been willing to say is what they do not want.”

It was a refreshing take on the situation, and it was quite nice to hear the PM getting stuck into the rebellious entities currently derailing British politics.

That said, May has once again delivered a hammer blow to democracy; her ‘it’s my way or the highway’ approach is hardly complicit to a democratic society, after all.

The PM has written to the EU requesting a Brexit delay until the end of June as she scrabbles around to secure a viable deal that the Commons will sign off. And she will head off to Brussels today in an attempt to sweet talk EU chiefs in person.

All 27 EU states will have to agree to the extension, and it is believed that they will agree as long as she can get her third attempt at a deal passed by the Commons next week.

Intriguingly, Theresa May has said she would not be willing to extend Brexit any further than June 30, and has spoken this week of her ‘great personal regret’ at how the situation has been handled.

So, is the PM planning to resign if a long-term Brexit delay is the only possible outcome?

Expect More Political Turmoil in 2019

The bookmakers are usually a good barometer of any given scenario, and their position on the state of UK politics in 2019 is telling.

They have odds as short as 1/5 that Theresa May will leave 10 Downing Street for good in 2019 – which supports the resignation theory, and in that case a General Election would surely be called: that’s an even money chance with the bookies.

Remember when she survived a motion of no confidence earlier this year? That granted the PM some security in that she now can’t be removed forcibly from her position until December at the earliest.

And so perhaps the biggest question for May to answer is this: does she want to leave on her own terms, or is she prepared to fall on her sword?

A total and complete loss of control over her affairs hardly helps, nor does the fact she has surely burnt her bridges with many of the Conservative Party colleagues after Wednesday’s ill-judged episode.