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Message Received, Theresa May?

by John Brian Shannon

It’s not you Theresa May, it’s your draft Withdrawal Agreement that’s caused your problems!

That can’t be said enough, for it’s the only glaringly wrong thing that Theresa May has done throughout her premiership.

Perhaps ‘wrong’ is too strong a word as it’s more like an error of omission (but an ‘omission’ that has the potential to cost the country dearly!) and her brutal personal schedule, plus a lack of support from her party, added to the lonely battle of one human being against many in Brussels must have contributed to Theresa May’s failure to grasp the importance of the fourth and final piece of the Brexit puzzle.

It’s been pointed out many times that more people want you to fail than want you to succeed when you’re a British Prime Minister. The UK political system and certain media outlets are particularly harsh on British PM’s, but that’s the life those politicians chose so there can be no complaining. Although we can understand she might experience a high level of frustration from time to time.

Theresa May Comments After the Conservative Party Confidence Vote

With characteristic class and resolve Theresa May stood outside 10 Downing St. last night after what was surely the most trying day of her premiership and spoke candidly about the result of the Conservative Party confidence vote — which she won — but not by the landslide predicted.

Some 117 Conservative MP’s voted against her staying on as leader and 200 voted for her to continue.

Though Theresa May won on numbers, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was forced out even though she survived a similar confidence vote with 4 more votes than Theresa May has just done allowing Theresa to continue her premiership.

Which must send Theresa May a clear message. And that message must be that at least 17.4 million Britons and 117 Conservative Party members are very concerned about getting stuck in a permanent Customs Union/Single Market with the European Union — with no chance to leave it, ever!

That’s a bad deal by any standard, and I hope the Prime Minister recognizes that millions of Britons (and non-British, but significant stakeholders in the UK economy) are genuinely concerned and it isn’t about political tub-thumping.

Britons Need Proof the Backstop Has Been Removed or a Firm End Date to Customs Union Membership Has Been Agreed

It’s of no use for EC President Donald Tusk and EU President Jean-Claude Juncker to tell Theresa May that the Irish backstop won’t ever be employed so don’t worry about it. It’s equally of no use for a non-legally binding addition to the Political Declaration document. It’s not worth one penny.

Because neither Donald Tusk nor Jean-Claude Juncker will remain in their posts after the EU elections next year, and their successors won’t be obligated in any way to follow non legally binding agreements that were made prior to their own swearing-in ceremony. Not only that, but unless these terms are written into the legal document (the draft Withdrawal Agreement) they aren’t binding, they’re just fluff.

The only way to solve this problem is for Theresa May to inform both the EC and EU presidents that her party will not vote up a draft Withdrawal Agreement in which there is an Irish backstop, or one that doesn’t have a firm end-date for Customs Union membership. And the EU can forget about the £39 billion divorce payment.

“Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith, a former party leader and a Brexiteer who voted against Mrs May in Wednesday’s vote, said he wanted to “send a strong message” to the PM.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We cannot go on just with the idea that a fiddle here and a fiddle there is what the problem is.”

Instead, he said Mrs May should say that the £39bn the UK has agreed to pay the EU as part of the divorce deal is “at risk”.

“They have got to say to the EU… we are not committed to this £39bn unless we get some resolution.” — BBC

For as long as the existing Withdrawal Agreement continues to include a backstop clause and/or lacks a Customs Union automatic escape date, I strongly suspect it will continue to be voted down in the UK House of Commons, and if the EU is looking to drive the UK into a so-called ‘Hard Brexit’ they’re on that trajectory with certainty.

Let me repeat: As long as there is a backstop, the draft Withdrawal Agreement won’t pass in the UK House of Commons.

Alternatively: As long as there’s no automatic end date to Customs Union membership, the draft Withdrawal Agreement won’t pass in the UK House of Commons.

Like it or not, that’s where we are. And the job of politicians is to fix political problems. So, it’s time to get to work, Theresa May.

Is Theresa May Up For It?

Full marks to Theresa May for making it through another brutal day. Why anyone would want to be a British Prime Minister is quite beyond me — but more power to her! — especially if she gets the backstop removed from the draft Withdrawal Agreement, or if an automatic end-date to Customs Union membership is added to the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

You’re becoming a better Prime Minister every month, Theresa May.

Now just meet this final challenge and you’ll be 4-out-of-4 and able to score highly among British Prime Ministers throughout Britain’s history. Your country needs you to be that good, that dedicated, and that strong!

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