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When Theresa May’s walking break sends Westminster into a tizzy

world Updated: Apr 17, 2019 17:34 IST
Theresa May,Brexit,United Kingdom

Will she decide on another election? After all, it is one of the several options discussed to resolve the Brexit impasse. The new Brexit date is October 31.(REUTERS File)

Many tense-up when prime ministers in some countries announce an address to the nation – there is similar anxiety in the United Kingdom when Prime Minister Theresa May goes on her favourite walking break in north Wales.

The reason is that May famously decided on calling the 2017 mid-term election while on a five-day walking holiday in the sylvan Snowdonia with her husband, Philip May. Soon after returning the Easter break in April 2017, she stood outside Downing Street and announced the mid-election.

The election outcome wasn’t exactly what she hoped for: she ended up losing the Conservative party’s majority won in 2015 under David Cameron, forcing her to seek support of the 10-member Democratic Unionist party to form the government.

Last week, following months of bruising headlines and worse over Brexit, May again went up the Welsh pastures with her husband for the week-long Easter break, raising temperatures again — at least one tabloid claimed Westminster was in ‘panic’.

Will she decide on another election? After all, it is one of the several options discussed to resolve the Brexit impasse. The new Brexit date is October 31, while talks with opposition Labour haven’t exactly been successful so far.

Such was the anxiety that the Downing Street spokesman was specifically asked if she is considering another election during the holiday. The answer was a brief ‘No’, but that hasn’t stopped tongues wagging in the Westminster bubble.

May said in 2017 that she had thought “long and hard” about holding the mid-term election while relaxing in Snowdonia, where she says she and Philip “love going there because the scenery’s great, the hospitality is great, we get a great welcome there and it’s a wonderful part of the country”.

The couple was spotted two days ago at a service station in Shropshire, walking almost unnoticed among travellers who had stopped for a break. May was due to return to London on Thursday in time for the Easter weekend, and for another round of Brexit negotiations

First Published: Apr 17, 2019 17:34 IST