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Express & Star comment: PM plan is Brexit in name only

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

The resignations of senior Cabinet figures will not have come as any great surprise given the mess Theresa May has made of the Brexit negotiations.

What do you make of the Brexit plan?

Make no mistake, the Prime Minister’s plan amounts to Brexit in name only, and the response to it shows that there is likely to be little future for her at the head of the Conservative Party.

Yes, she inherited a difficult situation from David Cameron, but she has shown herself to be lacking in the political vision to deliver the Brexit that 17.4 million people voted for in the referendum.

There has been an astonishing lack of clarity in her approach to the issue, to the point where she has failed miserably in what appears to have been a contrived attempt to please everyone at the same time.

The EU has clearly taken great delight in facing such a weak and befuddled opponent, who lacks either belief or understanding of what she has been asked to deliver.

By offering up the softest of soft Brexits, it looks like Mrs May has sealed the fate of her own premiership.

This dog of a deal that she has put together is clearly not acceptable to the many traditional Conservative voters who would have been in the Leave camp.

Instead, it appears to be a futile sop aimed at left-leaning voters in a bid to buy their votes at the next general election.

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It follows hard on the heels of the recent £20 billion funding pledge for the NHS – another thinly-disguised attempt to lure Labour supporters into the Tory camp.

In the current political climate, this makes absolutely no strategic sense.

There is a snowball’s chance in hell of anyone on the left voting Tory given the way sections of the media have successfully rebranded the party as ‘toxic’.

What would have been a far smarter move would have been to actively seek support from the millions of disenfranchised UKIP voters, given the implosion of the anti-EU party since the departure of Nigel Farage.

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You do wonder what coherent strategy those at the head of the Conservative Party have been employing since David Cameron stepped down.

Mrs May has presided over the manifesto debacle, a shambolic election campaign and now this complete mess on Brexit.

This newspaper has long implored Mrs May to respect the will of the people, and to have the courage to stand up for not only the principles behind democracy, but also the underlying principles of her party.

Sadly, it looks as if she is either unwilling or unable to fulfil either task at hand - and time is now running perilously short.

As such, there seems little doubt that she will face a leadership challenge over the coming days or weeks, and it will almost certainly come from a Brexiteer candidate such as Boris Johnson.

Often derided by critics as being unprincipled, Mr Johnson defied such accusations yesterday by standing up for the Brexit he campaigned for.

With Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour waiting to seize on any parliamentary mis-steps and split in the ranks, the Tories may soon realise that only a populist candidate such as Boris has any chance of delivering victory for them at the next election.

Mr Johnson may have his faults, but his popularity among the general public is unquestionable.

He is a vote winner, and in its current crisis that is exactly what the Conservative Party needs.

As for Mrs May, while she deserves a degree of sympathy, there is no escaping the fact that this has largely been a crisis of her own making.

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