Monday, July 15

May under pressure to resign



Theresa May’s position appears increasingly precarious as she faces calls from senior members of the cabinet to pull a planned vote on her new Brexit deal.

Sajid Javid, David Mundell and Penny Mordaunt are among the cabinet ministers who are unhappy about May’s pledge to hold a vote on a referendum, during the passage of her Brexit bill.

Others, including Michael Gove, have suggested it looks impossible to win a majority for the withdrawal agreement bill (Wab) and suggested the promised vote on it in early June should be pulled.

May was granted a stay of execution last week by the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs in order to give her one last chance to offer a vote on her Brexit bill, which is due to receive its second reading in early June.

She stressed that the government did not favour a referendum, but said MPs would be allowed a vote. If the proposal commanded a majority, the government would then legislate for a referendum to take place.

The pledge failed to win over supporters of a People’s Vote, who urged May to make a firm promise to hold a referendum.

But it has infuriated several senior members of May’s cabinet some of whom felt it went further than plans discussed in a three-hour cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.

The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, robustly rejected May’s 10-point plan, and called for a general election to resolve the deadlock.

He said: Our country needs leadership to bring us together. However, this prime minister is not the person to do this, he said, responding to her statement in the House of Commons.

May’s spokesman insisted she would not bow to pressure to resign immediately, saying she knew there was a job of work to do to persuade MPs to back her deal.

Asked whether the prime minister would quit if the Conservative vote fell below 10% in the European elections, he said: We expect a very challenging night when the result comes through but no, the PM is focused on the task at hand.

In the Commons, May urged MPs to support the legislation, which will be published on Friday, saying that by doing so, we can bring an end to the months years of increasingly bitter argument and division that have both polarised and paralysed our politics.

We can move on, move forwards, and get on with the jobs we were sent here to do, what we got into politics to do.