The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 10th May 2019

Another Challenge For May

by New Worker correspondent

THERESA MAY is facing renewed demands to stand down from her own backbenchers following the dismal Tory performance in last week’s local government elections and the failure to clinch a deal with Labour over Brexit.

Her leadership will be challenged at an extraordinary general meeting of the National Conservative Convention on 15th June. The powerful 1922 Committee of Conservative MPs has reportedly given Mrs May a dead-line to spell out the ‘road-map’ for her departure and former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has joined the chorus of dissidents calling on her to step down.

The Prime Minister says she will resign once Brexit is done and dusted. But that may never happen during the term of this fixed-term parliament, which won’t end until May 2022.

MPs are deeply divided on the issue and every attempt to get the May plan, or indeed any other variation, has fallen in the House of Commons. Talks with the Labour leaders continue with little sign of progress on the key issues of Britain’s relationship with the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Labour’s ‘red lines’, which include remaining within the ‘single market’ and a ‘customs union’ with the EU, go even further down the Brussels road than Mrs May’s original withdrawal plan, which has been repeatedly rejected by MPs on both sides of the House of Commons.

Within the Westminster bubble there’s speculation that the May team are prepared to accept a ‘temporary customs arrangement’ with Brussels in a bid to win Labour support. Whether it does and whether it will offset mounting Tory anger at what they see as more backsliding is another matter.

A senior Tory minister told the Telegraph: “It’s going to be very difficult to support any deal Labour would support. It all comes down to the same old problem, that they want a full and permanent customs union, and we made a manifesto pledge to leave the customs union.” The die-hard Tory newspaper cites senior Tory sources saying that May will be “gone very quickly” if she agrees to meet Labour’s demands to install a UK—EU customs union after Britain leaves the bloc.

The Brexit delays mean that the Government has had no alternative but to take part in European Parliament elections later in the month, which the Leavers will clearly use as a platform to campaign for the ‘no-deal’ Brexit that most of us believed we voted for in the 2016 referendum. The Tories expect to get hammered by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party but the Government still hopes for a quick deal with Brussels that would block them, and all the rest, from sitting in the EU forum.

David Lidington, Mrs May’s number two, said: “Given how little time there is… it is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process before the date that is legally due for European parliamentary elections”. But he still hopes British MEPs will never actually have to take up their seats their seats in the sham EU parliament — a forlorn hope because the newly-elected European Parliament opens on 2nd July and Westminster doesn’t reconvene until the 20th.

In fact the only way out of the crisis is the general election that Labour’s Corbyn leadership have been demanding. Millions of people voted decisively to leave the EU in 2016. We want another election to get Labour in and the Tories out. We want Labour to stand by the people’s vote to leave the EU without any ifs or buts. Leave.