Does May have enough time in Parliament to table a soft Brexit deal?

Prime Minister Theresa May hosted US President Donald Trump at Chequers during his visit to the UK. They delivered a joint Press conference there on Friday 13 July. The Chequers Court is the country house of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. (Photo released by 10 Downing St.).

The American President, last Wednesday and Thursday, after having infuriated his European allies at the NATO Summit, flew to London. Just after landing there he told the Brits that the US will not offer Britain a trade deal after Brexit, because May’s proposal for the divorce with the EU is not to his liking. In this inappropriate manner Donald Trump interfered in the internal affairs of Britain and the EU, offering unwarranted backing to the hard Brexiteer Tories, who oppose and practically undermine any attempt by 10 Downing St. to strike a viable divorce deal with the EU.

Yet, Trump, only hours after stating that May’s Brexit plan kills the possibility of a trade deal with the US, made a full u-turn and in the afternoon of the same day, Friday 13 July, said exactly the opposite. At the joint Press conference with the British PM he praised May saying she is doing a “fantastic job” and promised a “great trade deal after Brexit”. According to Reuters, on the same occasion, Trump explained “Once the Brexit process is concluded and perhaps the UK has left the EU, I don’t know what they’re going to do but whatever you do is OK with me, that’s your decision.” Then he added, “Whatever you do is OK with us, just make sure we can trade together, that’s all that matters. The United States looks forward to finalizing a great bilateral trade agreement with the United Kingdom. This is an incredible opportunity for our two countries and we will seize it fully”. This is for sure a completely untrustworthy US President. His words and pledges don’t mean anything anymore. But let’s return to the British internal front.

The enemy within

Last week, within the British governing party of the Conservatives, a group of deputies have finally and clearly shown last their intention for a catastrophic no-deal exit from the European Union. Their informal leader, the incredible ex-minister of Foreign Affairs, Boris Johnson, resigned, in protest, his government position last Monday. He said he disagreed with the latest government ‘white paper’ for a Brexit negotiation with Brussels, despite having undersigned it only hours before.

David Davis, the UK minister for the Brexit negotiations, also resigned last Monday, betraying the trust of Prime Minister, who had given him full authority to negotiate the divorce with the EU. He too, only some hours before, had agreed with the latest 10 Downing St. plan for a negotiated Brexit. Trump, then, is not the only top western politician to utterly change his stance by the hour.

A divided country

Undoubtedly, the British government and people are deeply divided over this unprecedented issue of an EU member state deciding to leave the club. The complexity of the affair proves to be much more dangerous and costly, exposing the lies and the deceptive arguments of the Brexiteers. Still, Boris Johnson and David Davis, the champions of the ‘Leave’ ticket, have the audacity to insist, that a no-deal exit from the EU is better for Britain. Undeniably, they represent the like views of a good part of mainly the English population. All the other constituent parts of the UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have overwhelmingly voted ‘Remain’.

Just a cup of tea

Coming back to Trump’s trip to Britain, he was not given by 10 Downing St. the status of a full state visit, denying him an official etiquette dinner with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Elizabeth II offered him just a cup of tea. Prime Minister May must have been informed about her guest’s intentions to support her adversaries of the kind of Boris Johnson. Not to say anything about last Friday’s London rally, which was characteristically called ‘the carnival of resistance’. It attracted an unprecedented participation. Various humorous happenings were staged by tens of thousands of people protesting the Trump visit.

The ‘America first’ President couldn’t even comprehend the phrase “hard Brexit” and he heard “heartbreaking”. He didn’t forget though to inappropriately and loudly advertise his businesses in the UK. He traveled to Scotland where he owns two luxurious golf courses; Turnberry in Ayrshire and Menie in Aberdeenshire. He said he also owns property in Northern Ireland.

May stands by her proposal

Trump support or not, it seems that Theresa May stands by her soft Brexitwhite paper’ proposal, as agreed by the UK cabinet on Thursday 12 July, before Johnson and Davis quitted. To certify it, Dominc Raab, the new Brexit Secretary, read the document in Parliament. In this way, the newly reshuffled May government made its policy line official. In short, from now on, this friendly Brexit stance adopted by Theresa May is to constitute London’s Brexit negotiation base with Brussels.

Clearly, the PM has finally abandoned her ambiguous position between soft and hard Brexit, adopting the former option. No need for ambiguity any more, since the hard Brexiteers have abandoned her and her government. It’s up to the Conservative party, then, to decide, if they want to keep May as their President and Prime Minister or topple her.

48 Tories can topple May

This can be done, if 48 Tory deputies sign a no trust petition, thus triggering an internal party procedure to elect a new President and consequently new Prime Minister. It’s not clear how many signatures have already being put under the relevant defamation text. For sure they are not quite 48.

As things presently stand, it’s regrettably impossible to predict, whether Theresa May is to have the time to finish the Brexit negotiations, before 48 Tory MPs decide to topple her. It’s certain though there are enough votes in the Parliament to approve a soft exit agreement with Brussels, if such a relevant deal reaches the legislative.

In any case, the Brexit split crosses all British political party lines but leaves more MPs in the pro EU side. The major opposition in Parliament, the Labor Party, may not be a red hot EU supporter, but the large majority of its deputies favor a friendly divorce with the EU. The same is true for the Liberals and the national Scottish party. The problem is, though, if May has enough time in the legislative to table a soft exit deal.

 

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