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Posts Tagged ‘May’

As cross-party talks stall, Theresa May faces calls to quit

Posted by hkarner - 12. Mai 2019

Date: 09-05-2019
Source: The Economist

The Tories reel from local-election losses—and face more punishment from voters later this month

After more than a month of cross-party talks, pressure to reach a deal should be mounting. It was ratcheted up by the local elections on May 2nd, in which Theresa May’s Tories made a staggering net loss of 1,334 council seats and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour unexpectedly lost 82, while the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats and Greens each made substantial gains. Somewhat paradoxically, the two main parties chose to interpret these results as a call from the electorate for an early Brexit deal. The prime minister said that people wanted Westminster to “get on with it”. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, tweeted that the votes meant “Brexit—sort it. Message received.”

Both parties duly promised to intensify negotiations on a Brexit deal that would pass Parliament. Real progress had been made, claimed Downing Street. An agreement on a temporary customs union that would last at least until 2022 was mooted. Yet no sooner had talks resumed on May 7th than they stalled again. Labour insisted it was ready to compromise but the government was unwilling to shift its red lines. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Tories are transforming into a party of populist nationalism

Posted by hkarner - 6. April 2019

Date: 04-04-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Theresa May’s decision to work with Labour will hasten the transition

A prime minister with a well-deserved reputation for dullness and dithering has finally done something dramatic and bold. This week she broke with the Brexit-right of her party and decided to put national interest above party unity. In a lengthy cabinet meeting on April 2nd Theresa May forged a radically new policy—working with the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, to produce a compromise Brexit and, if that doesn’t work, holding another round of indicative votes in the House of Commons and going with the winner.

Her move has left the hard Brexiteers in her party even more apoplectic than usual. Boris Johnson pronounced that “Brexit is now soft to the point of disintegration.” Jacob Rees-Mogg accused Mrs May of being keener to work with a Marxist than with her fellow Tories. Iain Duncan Smith opined that “the spectre of Corbyn lording it over us in a prime-ministerial way as he wrecks Brexit makes my blood run cold and fear for my party and my country.” So far a couple of junior ministers have resigned. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Theresa May’s New Brexit Strategy Is Fraught With Political Risk

Posted by hkarner - 4. April 2019

Date: 03-04-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Ahead of meeting between the prime minister and opposition leader, both parties wonder if detente represents an opportunity or a trap

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are meeting to try to find a route out of the Brexit impasse.

LONDON—British Prime Minister Theresa May and the leader of the opposition
Labour Party began the process of hashing out a compromise Brexit deal Wednesday, a path fraught with political risk for both sides.

With a summit of European Union leaders just a week away, pressure is on the British government to find a Brexit agreement that can gain Parliament’s approval and avoid the U.K. leaving the bloc without a deal on April 12.

To do this, Mrs. May has shifted strategy. On Tuesday, she announced she would reach out to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, after her repeated failure to persuade a core of anti-EU lawmakers in her own Conservative Party, and her allies from the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, to vote for the deal she negotiated. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The end of Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 29. März 2019

Date: 28-03-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

The prime minister promises MPs that she won’t be around for much longer

Europe has taken the head of a fourth Tory prime minister in a row. At a meeting of the 1922 committee of Conservative mps on March 27th Theresa May promised that she would not preside over the next stage of the Brexit negotiations and that she would resign if she got her deal through Parliament. She did not go so far as to name a date for her departure, but she might as well have done, given the reaction of the political nation. Those who had been demanding that she quit for months whooped with joy, while those who had been plotting to succeed her intensified their plotting.

Mrs May is trying to make the best of her miserable situation by using her promise to resign as a lever to get mps to back her deal. Several leading Brexiteers had hinted that they might offer their votes in return for her departure (their great fear was that Mrs May would treat a victory for her deal as vindication and an excuse to stay in power). Boris Johnson, for one, has announced that he has decided to vote for her deal. John Bercow, the Speaker of the Commons, is refusing to allow Mrs May to put her deal back to mps for another vote unless it is significantly changed. Now she may try to claim that her deal comes with her head on a platter.

In reality she is bowing to the inevitable. Over the past few weeks Mrs May has been confronted with one disaster after another. On March 20th she infuriated mps from all political parties by accusing them, in effect, of being enemies of the people. On March 24th the papers were full of rumours about cabinet ministers discussing appointing a caretaker prime minister. And on March 25th the House of Commons voted for the first time since 1906 to seize control of parliamentary business from the government and hold a series of indicative votes on where they thought Brexit should go.

Parliament’s seizure of the initiative was the culmination of a long process of disempowerment of the prime minister. Mrs May arguably lost control of her party with the general election of June 2017. The European Research Group of hardline Brexiteers increasingly acted like a party within a party—and a bullying, swaggering, bloviating party at that—while more moderate mps, such as Nick Boles, chomped at the bit. Then she lost control of her cabinet. The past month has seen ministers voting against a three-line whip without losing their jobs and various factions threatening mass resignations in return for concessions. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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How Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Collapsed

Posted by hkarner - 27. März 2019

Date: 26-03-2019
Source: Foreign Affairs by By Brendan O’Leary

The Return of the Irish Question

British Prime Minister Theresa May had hoped that the third time would do the trick.

After failing twice to get her withdrawal agreement with the EU through Parliament, she was gearing up for a fresh attempt last week, until she was blocked by the Speaker of the House of Commons and by the European Council. The Speaker declared that the British government could not put substantively the same motion before Parliament twice in the same legislative session. The Council had refused to modify the withdrawal agreement, which made the Speaker’s decision unavoidable, and it later imposed unexpectedly firm terms on May’s request for an extension. She had requested a short extension to conclude by June 30, knowing that her government could not now meet its schedued exit date of March 29.

May’s premiership is now hanging by a thread. Her three-pronged strategy of blackmail, bribery, and betrayal has collapsed. The blackmail had involved running down the clock to force MPs to choose between her deal and no deal (for which the United Kingdom is not prepared). The European Council, however, has changed that game. Under the extension agreed by the Council, the Commons must ratify the existing withdrawal agreement (provided the Speaker allows the government to put it to the House again) no later than April 12. If it does not, then the United Kingdom must choose between leaving without a withdrawal agreement, revoking the request to withdraw from the EU, and accepting a much longer extension of the negotiations. The latter possibility comes with a sting:  the United Kingdom would have to participate in the elections to the European Parliament scheduled for May. Such elections would inevitably approximate a fresh referendum on remaining in or leaving the EU. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The race to replace Theresa May

Posted by hkarner - 17. März 2019

Date: 16-03-2019
Source: The Economist: Bagehot

Conservatives are manoeuvring to succeed a broken prime minister

Tuesday was the most humiliating day in a prime ministership scorched by humiliations. Theresa May’s voice was so hoarse that she could hardly make herself heard. Philip May, watching his wife from the visitors’ gallery, looked thoroughly miserable. Storm Gareth rattled the roof of the chamber with Shakespearean fury. When it came, the defeat by 149 votes was a surprise to even the most pessimistic government flaks.

In normal times the prime minister would have resigned immediately, whisky glass in hand. Mrs May lost her authority some time ago. Cabinet ministers openly defy her and backbenchers merrily do their own thing. Now she has lost her raison d’être as well: the deal that she spent two-and-a-half years negotiating has crumbled on contact with parliamentary reality. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Reeling From Crisis to Crisis, Britain’s May Is Still Standing

Posted by hkarner - 15. März 2019

Date: 14-03-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Theresa May has survived one political disaster after another despite losing crucial votes and ministers at an astounding rate

British Prime Minister Theresa May
LONDON-—Prime Minister Theresa May has faced one political disaster after another, losing crucial votes and ministers at a rate not seen in British politics for decades.

Yet she’s still standing.

An extraordinary combination of factors means that despite regular drubbings in parliament, a rolling rebellion among her own cabinet and a flagship Brexit plan that was overwhelmingly rejected for a second time on Tuesday, the 62-year-old continues to hold on to power.

“Normally a leader will at some point confess the game is up,” said Mark Garnier, a Conservative Party lawmaker and former minister. “The party is slightly shocked.”

At the heart of this survival act: a fear among Conservative Party lawmakers about who would replace her.

Ousting Mrs. May could result in a Conservative leader who might take Brexit in a different direction, either forcing a much deeper break from the trading bloc or keeping the country much more closely bound to the European Union.

It could also trigger an election increasing the chance of a hard-left Labour Party coming into power. So Conservative lawmakers, worried that Brexit might suddenly get more radical or not happen at all, are sitting on their hands.

“Nobody wants to mess with this,” said a prominent Conservative euroskeptic. For Conservative party officials to force a change of leader in the midst of Brexit negotiations “seems crazier even than everything else,” said Tony Travers, professor at the London School of Economics. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn lose control of their Brexit policies

Posted by hkarner - 2. März 2019

Date: 28-02-2019
Source: The Economist

Brexit is likely to be deferred until at least June 30th. This will not make it any easier to get MPs to back a deal

After weeks of unstable equilibrium British politics has seen two breakthroughs. Theresa May, the prime minister, agreed to offer mps a chance to vote to extend the Article 50 Brexit negotiations. This in effect takes a no-deal Brexit off the table for the time being. Meanwhile Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, promised to support a second referendum on the final deal. This raises the possibility that a Brexit delay might eventually morph into a Brexit revote.

The reason for these breakthroughs is that both leaders are losing control of their own parties. Mrs May’s Brexit strategy depended on confronting mps with a choice between her deal and no deal. But early this week some 15 ministers, including three cabinet members, threatened that they would back a plan drawn up by Yvette Cooper, a Labour mp, to delay Brexit if Mrs May cannot get her deal through Parliament by a specified date. Following one of the most fraught cabinet meetings in years, Mrs May turned up to Parliament on February 26th to offer a succession of promises to appease the rebels: if her deal fails to pass by March 12th, she will ask mps by the following day if they are willing to sanction a no-deal Brexit and then, assuming that the answer is no, the day after they will be able to instruct the government to go back to Brussels to seek an extension to the Article 50 Brexit deadline of March 29th. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Playing Chicken with Europe

Posted by hkarner - 15. Februar 2019

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell believed the Cold War nuclear standoff resembled a high-risk game played by „youthful degenerates.“ British Prime Minister Therea May is playing a similar game, and if her Brexit brinkmanship goes wrong, the victim would be Britain.

LONDON – The game of chicken is simple to describe but dangerous to play. Based on evolutionary game theory, it was sometimes used to describe nuclear brinkmanship during the Cold War.

Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher and campaigner against nuclear weapons, reminded us that the game is usually played between what he called “youthful degenerates.” The players drive cars towar d each other at high speed from opposite directions; the first driver to swerve away from a head-on collision – or, in some variants, to jump from the driver’s seat before it reaches a cliff edge – is the “chicken.”Russell believed this to be a description of the putative statesmanship of the nuclear powers in the Cold War. One miscalculation, one failure to swerve, and the result could be Armageddon: hundreds of millions of deaths, flattened cities, the end of civilization.

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As Brexit Deadline Nears, EU Loses Confidence in May

Posted by hkarner - 14. Februar 2019

Date: 13-02-2019
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Brussels wonders whether U.K. prime minister can deliver any Brexit deal

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May departs number 10 Downing Street on Wednesday.

Six weeks from Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, the bloc’s governments are preparing to make further concessions to try to help British Prime Minister Theresa May win approval for her Brexit deal in Parliament.

But as the clock ticks down, they are still waiting for a signal from Mrs. May about how to move and are losing confidence in her capacity to deliver a majority for any agreement, increasing the chances of a no-deal exit that neither side wants.

One thing European officials say is now certain, although the British side hasn’t admitted it: If there is a deal, the U.K.’s scheduled departure on March 29 will have to be delayed.

Mrs. May is seeking legal guarantees that an arrangement aimed at avoiding the emergence of a physical border in Ireland—ironically a concession by Brussels extracted by British negotiators—won’t be used to trap the U.K. permanently into a customs union with the EU, denying Britain an independent trade policy. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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