British Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip arrive to vote in the European Parliament Elections, taking place despite Brexit uncertainty, in Sonning, Britain, on Thursday. Photo: REUTERS/Toby Melville
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May hangs on after Brexit gambit backfires

31 Comments
By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton

British Prime Minister Theresa May was clinging to power on Thursday after her final Brexit gambit backfired, overshadowing a European election that has shown a United Kingdom still riven over its divorce from the EU.

May's departure will deepen the Brexit crisis as a new leader is likely to want a more decisive split, raising the chances of a confrontation with the European Union and an election that could usher in a socialist government.

In such a fluid situation, Britain faces an array of options including an orderly exit with a deal, a no-deal exit, an election or a second referendum that could ultimately reverse the 2016 decision to leave the EU.

May, who won the top job in the turmoil that followed the EU referendum, has repeatedly failed to get parliament's approval for her divorce deal, which she pitched as a way to heal Britain's Brexit divisions.

Her last gambit, offering a possible second referendum and closer trading arrangements with the EU, triggered a revolt by some Brexit-supporting ministers and triggered the resignation of the minister in charge of her parliamentary business.

On Thursday, with Britons voting in a European election in which pre-poll surveys suggested May's Conservatives would be thrashed by Nigel Farage's Brexit Party, May was digging in.

The chairman of the powerful Conservative 1922 Committee, which can make or break prime ministers, has said May would meet him on Friday to discuss her leadership.

George Osborne, a former Conservative finance minister and now editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper, said on Twitter he had been told that May would then announce she would step down on June 10, after the state visit by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Other newspapers also suggested this was the probable timeline for her departure.

Amid dissent across her party at her latest Brexit proposal, the government delayed the planned publication of legislation to enact her divorce deal from Friday until June 3, in the hope that it could still be put to parliament on June 7.

LISTENING TO CONCERNS

May held separate meetings with her foreign and interior ministers. Amid suggestions that the proposed bill could be rewritten, her spokesman said she would listen to colleagues' concerns.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that interior minister Sajid Javid had told May he could not vote for the bill because it went further than what senior ministers had agreed to in cabinet.

Earlier, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said May would still be prime minister when Trump arrived for his trip on June 3.

But newspapers said her time was up. The mass-circulation Sun's front page was headlined "May set to go after Brexit fiasco", while the Times led with "May prepares to quit after cabinet mutiny".

EU supporters fear Brexit will undermine Britain's economy - the fifth-largest in the world - as well as London's position as one of the world's top two financial capitals. They also say it will weaken the West as it grapples with Trump’s unpredictable presidency and growing assertiveness from Russia and China.

May, who has been obdurate through one of the most tumultuous premierships of recent British history, had promised to leave office if lawmakers approved her Brexit deal, but is now under intense pressure to name a date.

Sterling, which tumbled on the 2016 Brexit vote to its biggest one-day fall since the early 1970s, dropped 0.4% on Thursday to a new 4-1/2 month low of $1.2605. The yield on Britain's 10-year bond fell to 0.991%, the lowest since March 29, the day Britain had been due to leave the EU.

SHALL WE STAY OR SHALL WE GO?

Nearly three years after Britain voted by 52% to 48% to leave the EU, it remains unclear how, when or even whether it will leave the European club it joined in 1973. The current deadline to leave is Oct. 31.

When May goes, her Conservative Party will elect a leader who is likely to want to renegotiate the deal she agreed with the EU in November, raising the chances of a confrontation with the bloc and a national election.

The bookmakers' favourite to succeed May is Boris Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the EU, who has said he wants a more decisive split. More than a dozen others are seen as potential candidates.

If there were an election and the Conservatives lost, the winner would be Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran socialist who wants to nationalise swathes of the British economy but has not said what shareholders will get in return. Corbyn also says he wants to take Britain out of the EU.

The Investment bank BNP Paribas said it now saw a 40% probability of Britain leaving the EU without a transition agreement in place.

European election results are expected after 9 p.m. on Sunday.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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We won’t know for four days, but if the Brexit Party does well, then either Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage will become PM and the UK will finally get a clean Brexit. Making UK great again!

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Oh my...

Nigel Farage Delivers Knockout Punch At EU Election Rally In London

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RWUuB66fO8

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

either Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage will become PM

Farage won't as he's not an MP. There is no law against the Queen appointing a non-MP as Prime Minister but in practice it won't happen. The last PM who was not an MP was Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (Prime Minister 1895-1902), who was instead a member of the House of Lords.

Boris Johnson

A Colombian enthusiast and serial adulterer, fired by Rupert Murdoch for fabricating quotes in an article for the Times and fired by the Tory party for lying about an affair with a colleague's wife? He lied his way through the Brexit campaign as well, because he's a liar. In what way will appointing an incompetent liar make UK great again?

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/times-boris-johnson-flat-lied/

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Interesting youtube, Serrano. I had forgotten that Obama had interfered with the British election by suggesting that the U.S. would treat Britain differently if Britain actually intended to follow thru on the VOTERS CHOICE to leave the E.U..

It appears that the Brexit Party has gained a lot of ground with the voters in a very short period of time, and it has a tremendous amount of momentum.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

As soon as the UK leaves the EU it will come under total control of Washington. Any trade agreements between the US and the UK will be dominated and controlled by Washington.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

We won’t know for four days, but if the Brexit Party does well, then either Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage will become PM and the UK will finally get a clean Brexit. Making UK great again!

Hate to burst your bubble but the UK will never be "great again". The manufacturing industry is dead, and if it magically is somehow revived by brexit, it wouldn't be even remotely competitive on the international stage. Inferior quality products, little to no natural resources. If brexit happens, the mass exodus of financial institutions from the UK will leave the country's reputation of financial mega-house to tatters. The average-joe so to speak, doesn't understand any of this. All they see is their steel mills shutting down and no more British Layland, but they fail to understand why. Britain is barely able to sustain its own population on food production, it lacks sway as a transit hub for goods, the UK will never be great again and the faster people like you learn that the better the UK will be. You can't make the UK great again, but you can make it better than it is now.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

The sooner May leaves the better!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

You can't make the UK great again, but you can make it better than it is now.

This fantasy is part of the problem in Britain as well as the US and even Japan. With huge countries like China and India rising, the former leading nations will naturally lose market share and dominance. The wealth is being spread around, which is generally a good thing for the world.

Smaller states will be respond more quickly and efficiently. But the glory days of a few Western nations straddling the world are over. That was a temporary state of affairs and it's not coming back any time soon.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

May she be gone soon, she's yesterday and historically will be a failed PM know only for Brexit exit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

As soon as the UK leaves the EU it will come under total control of Washington.

Hahahaha, no, but they WILL come under total control of Brussels if they don't leave.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Watching the news and different sites, it is clear that both remainer and leavers now just want this over and done with. The other disturbing thing is because of the utter frustration with the whole process, a hard brexit is becoming more and more popular.

I think that's what's going to happen. I still advocate CANZUK which I think is the best way for the UK to deliver brexit without destroying its economy.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Will Theresa May finally step down today?

Well apparently yes and no, there will be a roll of the drums, Theresa May will step up to the lectern.

Madam mumbles will deliver waffle, an opaque embellishment, a misleading misnomer, a vague pledge to step aside by indeterminate period of time.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Serrano, Cla68 and arrestpaul

What do you think of Farage’s Brexit Party policies apart from Brexit?

Take your time.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Brexit is obviously by far the most important thing on the agenda now, Jimizo.

What do you think of May's policies apart from trying to stop Brexit in spite of the vote to leave?

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Brexit is obviously by far the most important thing on the agenda now, Jimizo.

Would you vote for someone with one policy and just wait around until he comes up with a few ideas later?

As for May, I generally disagree with her party’s policies but at least she has policies to disagree with.

I think an informed electorate is a good thing. To be informed, the politicians need to inform you what their policies are.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

We won’t know for four days, but if the Brexit Party does well, then either Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage will become PM and the UK will finally get a clean Brexit. Making UK great again!

Thinking Farage could become PM betrays a woeful ignorance of British politics.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Farage will never be PM and I doubt Boris too. Trump is due in the UK in ten days so probably nothing will change until after his visit. Best time for an announcement would be during the European football finals when no one will notice what's she doing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Jimizo - What do you think of Farage’s Brexit Party policies apart from Brexit?

Take your time

Thanks. How much time do I have?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In all honesty did Nigel Farage political ambitions really ever reach further than the European Parliament elections? Heck I really don't wish to rain on Nigel Farage parade. But really there has to be addtional political/economic bells and whistles.

Assigning and designating a political group The Brexit Party is a dead give away.

To the point Theresa May must resign now, in the exact definition/context of/to iam desine.

A new Leader can then pick up the political pieces, that also must call a General Election, so return to the people for a mandate and authority to govern.

The mandate must reach way beyond Brexit.

A Brexit clean break must be accompanied by a comprehensive economic strategy, a fully published understanding of the risks, detailed monetary and fiscal policies, an agenda for agricultural reform, and most importantly, guarantees for EU citizens who have settled and devoted there futures to a British way of life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Apparently one reason Theresa May is hanging on is that she doesn't want a shorter tenure than Gordon Brown. The country is in paralysis and that is what she is thinking about. Good grief.

Note that whoever gets the job will be elected by Conservative party members. Its not very democratic.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Farage has made it impossible for the Tories to win the next election unless they elect a Brexiteer as the new leader of the party. If they choose any anti-Brexit Tory, the party will disappear.

Even if the Tories choose Boris (who is the most popular choice for members) and go for the WTO exit, there is a very high possiblity that they'll lose. Boris voted for May's deal and people will never forget it.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/05/23/tory-big-beasts-including-boris-johnson-will-lose-seats-next/

I think Farage knows this and has planned this out long-term. Labour wins next election, Corbyn government, then next election, Farage walks into No 10.

If there was a General Election this year and the choices were:

Corbyn - Leave but Remain

Boris - Leave (But don't bank on it)

Farage - Leave (WTO)

Then I think there is a small chance (but highly unlikely) that Farage could do it with the support of Tory and Labour voters.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Take your time 

Thanks. How much time do I have?

As much as you want, mate.

As the policies don’t exist, shall we drop the standards a little and hazard a guess at what Farage’s policies might be? Got any dice?

This is a fascinating insight into the minds of those who follow populists. They don’t even need policies to persuade them.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Farage has made it impossible for the Tories to win the next election unless they elect a Brexiteer as the new leader of the party. If they choose any anti-Brexit Tory, the party will disappear.

Farage is essentially a one-man show. In his time as leader of UKIP, one of the problems he had a circus of preposterous lunatics, racists and headbangers running for seats. The few serious people tended to be disaffected Tory MPs. Don’t forger Farage himself was beaten in a seat very receptive to the UKIP message.

He’s a decemt sniper, and there are many people pissed off about Brexit, but there is no indication that he’ll put together a presentable party. People vote very differently in general elections than in European elections.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The tories made it impossible for the tories to win the next election whatever the outcome of Brexit.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The next Prime Minster must to be able to lead the UK to compete in a global marketplace.

The break with the status quo needs to be managed with an expert transparent agenda.

Customs and regulation authority needs to be consummate to recognised health and safety standard.

It has to have the flexible reach to incorporate more that 350 countries. This can be achieved with the right leadership.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Then I think there is a small chance (but highly unlikely) that Farage could do it with the support of Tory and Labour voters.

There is literally zero chance Farage will even win a seat in parliament, let alone be ushered into Number Ten by people and parties who hate him.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Jimizo

He’s a decemt sniper, and there are many people pissed off about Brexit, but there is no indication that he’ll put together a presentable party.

Yes, you are quite right. However, he is able to do one thing that others can't seem to, and that is learning from his experience. It is quite something to come first in the 2014 EU elections, but it is something else to start a party just under 6 weeks before an election, and then be at the top of the polls by a very wide marign. He'll be the first person in British political history to win two elections under different parties. I'm also starting to see some people suggest that if the Brexit Party can get over 35%, Farage will become the leader of the largest party in the EU Parliament. Imagine that!

To add to all of this, we have the worst PM in history, along with the worst Tory government and the most terrible opposition leader and shadow cabinet. This all works in Farage's favour. Even if he only manages to present a semi-decent party, he'll be miles ahead of the competition.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Tangerine2000

I think you are reading too much into these elections. He provided a one-policy ‘alternative’ and gave us the perfect example of a protest vote. I don’t see Farage doing anything like as well in a general election.

His past vague ideas on policies other than leaving the EU have included ideas about an American-style healthcare system, turning the Falklands into a penal colony, reintroducing smoking in pubs and introducing a flat income tax. Whenever I’ve seen him questioned on subjects other than the EU, he talks a load of bollocks. Maybe he’ll come out with more palatable than rightwing drivel scrawled on a beer mat, but we are talking about a pretty nasty tooth-and-claw Tory here.

If he can create a party without the crazies he seems to attract, and policies which don’t sound like they’ve been blown out of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s arse, we might be talking about a serious politician. Until then, he’s still the ciggie and pint populist for me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Jimizo

Maybe. However, I think something is taking place that has never happened before. British tribal politics has been smashed. Millions of lifelong conservative voters have now sworn that they'll never vote for them again. Also, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of labour supporters who voted to leave have said the same. If this proves to be true from the results this weekend, it'll signify a huge shift.

As far as his policies go, I would hazard a guess that he'll choose the overwhemingly popular ones:

Abolish the licence fee, cut the foreign aid budget, abolish/reform the House of Lords, reform the Electoral Commission, change the voting system to PR......

If Corbyn's still playing his on-the-fence routine with Brexit, and the Tories choose someone like Rudd, Farage will have a fair chance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

May is gone on June 7th.

"Ive done my best for the country I love" break down crying.

There should now be a general election but the tories will resist knowing they would lose.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Bye Felicia.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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