Lawmakers Call on May to Step Down as She Flies to Europe for Brexit Talks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) greets British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Chancellery in Berlin, on December 11, 2018, prior bilateral talks. - Embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May launched a tour of European capitals on December 11, 2018 in a desperate bid to salvage her Brexit deal, a …
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OLIVER JJ LANE

British Prime Minister Theresa May was engaged in a last-ditch attempt to save her besieged Brexit deal Tuesday, meeting with Dutch leader Mark Rutte and Germany’s Angela Merkel after controversially deferring Tuesday’s planned vote in the UK House of Commons to prevent a near-certain defeat.

Theresa May’s latest trip to Europe came as European Union leaders rejected the possibility of any change to the agreement that Brexit leader Nigel Farage dismissed as the “worst deal in history“, and as British Members of Parliament clamoured for a fresh direction.

After the Prime Minister told the House Monday that Tuesday’s so-called meaningful vote was to be deferred — potentially into January 2019 — focus again turned to her future as leader of the Conservative Party.

Former minister Crispin Blunt outed himself overnight as having sent a letter of no confidence to the party committee which would manage a leadership competition, taking the number of publicly dissenting voices to 26. It is not known how many have actually been sent, as others may have been handed in secret, or others claimed to have sent letters that do not exist.

If the number of letters received by Sir Graham Brady, the chairman of the influential 1922 backbench committee, hits 48 a leadership race will begin.

Rebellious backbencher Blunt called upon other members of the Parliamentary Conservative party to act now, remarking: “I want to encourage those who are thinking about it — get it done”, reports The Times.

The paper also claims there are a “number of other Tory MPs” preparing to write their letters, but similar claims last month were unfounded as an attempted move against the Prime Minister led by Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg and others failed to gain enough letters.

Several other voices have also joined the chorus calling for an end to the Theresa May era. Andrea Jenkyns, a Tory backbencher who went public with submitting her letter in November took to the pages of the Daily Telegraph Tuesday to write: “For the good of the country and the party, it is time for her to do the honourable thing and resign.”

Fellow rebel Steve Baker took to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Tuesday morning to hit similar themes.

He said: “What I would like to happen today is for Conservative Members of Parliament to realise that we simply cannot go staggering forward any longer like this and I’m afraid to put their letters of no confidence in… If we can’t go forwards with her deal … then I’m afraid the only way to change the policy is to change the prime minister and I really think it’s her duty to go.”

There may have been some hope that Theresa May’s emerging pattern of leadership, which appears to involve resolutely promising one course of action, no matter how likely, until a last-minute U-turn, could see a hitherto-rejected renegotiation in her Brexit deal.

Frequent critic of the prime minister’s plan Arlene Foster — who leads the Northern Irish DUP which will see their UK province cut off from the rest of the country by the European Union under the deal — implied there may be change on the horizon Monday.

Writing online, the fiery Ulster politician implied the prime minister had belatedly come round to the idea of making changes and had even possibly started listening to the political party her own relies on for votes to govern, remarking: “Just finished a call with the Prime Minister. My message was clear. The backstop must go. Too much time has been wasted. Need a better deal. Disappointed it has taken so long for Prime Minister to listen.”

Concern over the backstop is so developed, junior Brexit minister Martin Callanan was moved to reassure lawmakers this morning that “the UK cannot be trapped permanently in the backstop… it is very important that these have to be additional legally binding reassurances.”

A spokesman for the prime minister said Tuesday morning a “revised” deal would be put before the house before the 21st of January, implying Mrs May is certainly hoping for some movement from EU negotiators.

Getting that change may be a challenge for the prime minister, though. Despite Theresa May having a Brexit breakfast meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who has emerged as a source of support for her Brexit position in recent talks before going on to meet with Angela Merkel, leaders inside the machinery of the European Union have outright rejected any hope of change.

Their refusal to budge away from the punishing deal forced on Britain so far is a clear sign of the intransigence of the political bloc towards the United Kingdom in general, but one that pro-remain campaigners who see the Union as fundamentally friendly towards Britain have chosen to ignore.

Breitbart London reported the remarks of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker who said that “there is no room whatsoever for renegotiation” Tuesday, and Brexit coordinator Guy Verhofstadt who decided to mock Britain rather than seek improvement in relations.

Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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