‘Zombie’ May Dodges Party Leadership Contest But Loses Public Support

Prime Minister Theresa May
Carl Court/Getty

Prime Minister Theresa May has escaped the prospect of a ‘no confidence’ vote in her party after a series of high-profile Cabinet resignations, but a poll has found that just 22 percent of voters trust her to get the best deal for Brexit.

Sources told media Monday night that Mrs May would not face a vote of no confidence after the 1922 committee failed to receive the 48 letters from Conservative MPs necessary to trigger a leadership contest.

The 1922 Committee — which takes its name from a meeting of Conservative MPs in October 1922 which led to the end of the party’s coalition government with the Liberals — is comprised of MPs who do not hold office in government (known as ‘backbenchers’) but who hold the core control mechanism of the Conservative Party.

Chanel 4 political correspondent Michael Crick tweeted that he had been informed that Tory MP Philip Davies “told 1922 Committee that May orchestrated a ‘Remain coup’ on Friday” before Mrs May pressured her Cabinet to accept a soft Brexit proposal.

Her ‘third way’ vision, which would see the UK effectively still tied to many mechanisms of the European Union after Brexit, resulted in the resignations of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and former Brexit secretary David Davis.

Politico, amongst other media outlets, have taken to calling Mrs May “the zombie Prime Minister” for her metaphorical refusal to “die” (and be replaced) and the “zombie-like progress towards nowhere in particular” in getting the UK out of the EU, with her premiership being propped up by loyalists such as new foreign secretary and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Despite this support from within her party, following the resignation of Mr Davis a poll by broadcaster Sky News has found that the British people have turned on her.

According to an SMS text survey of 1,502 Sky customers on 9 July 2018, 64 percent of Britons do not trust the Prime Minister to run Brexit negotiations — up 31 percentage points from a similar sample taken in March 2017.

Just 22 percent now trust Mrs May to get the best possible deal — down 32 points from last year.

The top four positions in May’s Cabinet — that of Prime Minister, foreign secretary, home secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer — are now populated by those who voted Remain in the June 2016 referendum.

This thoroughly Remainer-led government is at odds with a populace that has swung even more in favour of Leave with the annual British Social Attitudes survey finding the number of those wanting to exit the EU has gone up by 15 percent since 2015.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Monday evening that should the government welch on the promised March 2019 leaving date, he would return to the frontline political battle — the threat following calls from current UKIP chief Gerard Batten for May’s resignation.

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