Recent, ongoing turmoil over the UK’s haphazard Brexit plan is proving to have serious implications across government. It has led to debate, public criticism, resignations in government, unsolicited input from Donald Trump, and a general, overarching sense of embarrassment. The question now – one which sounds dramatic but is becoming fair to ask – is whether it will also lead to an early end to Theresa May’s tenure as prime minister.
An event like the would-be stepping down of an acting prime minster is rare in global politics. And just as happened across the pond with the question of Donald Trump’s potential impeachment, people can get carried away imagining the most exciting possible outcome. So in this piece we are not making a prediction, nor explicitly backing the notion that May should, or might step down. To provide some context for this aspect of the Brexit turmoil, however, we thought we’d do a round-up of some of the biggest names, publications, and entities calling for her to do just that.
The Guardian’s Matthew d’Ancona
Matthew d’Ancona contributes as a conservative opinion writer at The Guardian, which is to say he’s theoretically on May’s side politically. Noting that May was said to be the only viable Tory to oversee the Brexit, d’Ancona recently wrote that she’s “making Britain an international joke” and that there was a risk of Britain “sleepwalking into second rate status.” While acknowledging that he is no fan of Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, d’Ancona even went as far as to suggest, albeit vaguely, that allowing Corbyn a shot at handling the Brexit was the democratically proper thing to do. This was ultimately one of the more striking calls for May to relinquish control.
CNN’s John McTernan
John McTernan was one the speechwriter for former prime minister Tony Blair but contributes to publications now and then, and his critique of May actually comes from October of 2017. Claiming that May needed to resign for the good of Britain, he actually made a broader case for why he believed her unfit to rule (such as her lack of a mandate or government control and her tone deaf response to the Grenfell Tower fire). However, he also suggested, even back then, that she lacked authority in handling the Brexit, noting that her own speeches about it were being overshadowed and/or subverted by Boris Johnson. If we had to guess, we’d assume McTernan has only grown more adamant about his opinions since, but it’s interesting to see the Brexit surfacing even nine months ago as a possible indicator of May’s unfitness.
We don’t need to cover specifics here, but there have been reports of prominent Tory donors, as well as large numbers of them, calling for May to call it quits. It’s not the most interesting situation to read about, but could in fact be more impactful than some of the other examples here.
Some may still not associate betting markets with politics, but the two have become closely entwined particularly in recent years. New and established betting platforms in the UK are constantly battling to stay up-to-date, not just with software and features, but also with content relevant to public interest. And in modern times, with politics in the UK and elsewhere in the Western world approaching something close to entertainment, political scenarios are frequently posted for betting activity. Now, to say that the current betting markets are calling for May to step down isn’t accurate, given that bookmakers don’t have an agenda (beyond making money). However, depending on where you look, you may well see odds suggesting that May could step down, and before the end of 2018.
This is perhaps the least surprising inclusion here given that Corbyn is May’s most prominent and natural political opponent. However, you may want to read the heated debate they had back in May if you haven’t yet. Corbyn essentially stated that the government was in complete disarray under May, suggesting that it was too busy negotiating with itself to negotiate with anyone else. Revealing valid concerns that deadlines would not be met in Brexit negotiations, Corbyn has openly called for May to step aside and allow the Labour Party to take over the process.