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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

Theresa May needs to quit to resolve Brexit crisis, say aides

Claiming that Prime Minister Theresa May’s intransigence is part of the problem, several of her cabinet colleagues and others want to see her resign to resolve the Brexit crisis, as nearly a million people walked through London on Saturday and 5 million people signed an anti-Brexit petition.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2019 18:29 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
British Prime Minister Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May(REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
         

Claiming that Prime Minister Theresa May’s intransigence is part of the problem, several of her cabinet colleagues and others want to see her resign to resolve the Brexit crisis, as nearly a million people walked through London on Saturday and 5 million people signed an anti-Brexit petition.

May is immune from a leadership challenge until December under Conservative party rules, since she won the last challenge in December 2018. But a new party leader and prime minister can be elected if she resigns on her own. Her aides briefed Sunday newspapers, insisting she needs to go.

The current Brexit crisis involves two dates set by the European Union last week: leave the EU by May 22 if the withdrawal agreement is passed in parliament; or, if it is not passed, clarify by April 12 the way forward, which also implies the UK needing to participate in elections to the European parliament on May 23.

Amid continuing all-round uncertainty, one clarity is that the UK will not leave the EU at 11 pm on March 29, the date and time mentioned in the EU withdrawal act. This has caused much ennui among those who voted to leave since it contradicts May’s repeated assertions that the UK will leave on March 29.

If May’s continued efforts to gain support for the withdrawal agreement succeed, it will be brought before parliament for the third time next week, subject to speaker John Bercow allowing it to be tabled again. It was voted down twice in January and earlier this month.

As Downing Street rubbished reports that May could be persuaded to resign, chancellor Philip Hammond told Sky News on Sunday: “This is not about the prime minister... changing prime ministers wouldn’t help, changing the party of government wouldn’t help.”

“To be talking about changing the players on the board, frankly, is self indulgent at this time,” he added.

David Lidlington, effectively the deputy prime minister, is mentioned as a temporary possible successor to May, while senior party leader and former cabinet minister Iain Duncan-Smith said aides briefing against May should be dismissed for being disloyal.

Calling their behavior “appalling”, he told BBC they should be censured, sacked, or at the very least “they should be apologising and they should shut up.”

First Published: Mar 24, 2019 17:54 IST

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