Wednesday, 24 Apr 2024

Theresa May has shown courage — but to seal her deal and deliver Brexit, she needs to resign

THERESA May must announce today that she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved and Britain is out of the EU.

The Sun says this with regret, ­having supported her since before she became Prime Minister. But she has lost the backing of much of the country and now her party.

Her deal has only one, slim chance of achieving a majority in the ­Commons.

That is if she pledges ­immediately to resign and set in motion the election of her successor as Tory leader and PM after we leave the EU on the new deadline of May 22.

If she does so, Tory Brexiteers and the DUP must back the deal. Because if it fails again this week we are heading for a much softer Brexit — or none.

That will be a catastrophe for the country, the Tories and Parliament.

Mrs May deserves huge credit. She is a dedicated public servant with an unshakeable sense of duty, who in 2016 took on the greatest challenge of any PM since World War Two.


She has stuck to it through thick and thin, showing remarkable resilience in the face of repeated humiliations, rebellions and a relentless barrage of vitriol from almost all-comers.

Unlike so many she has determinedly respected the will of the Leave majority. The very concept of democracy has been degraded in many other countries, yet she has ­resolutely defended ours.

She must now take the next principled step — and show she is not just another craven politician determined to cling to power.

Mrs May has insisted all along that not only must the referendum result be honoured, as promised by both main parties, but that it must mean leaving the EU’s central institutions — the Single Market and Customs Union — as well as the remit of its courts.

She has maintained that the power to trade independently outside the Brussels club must be secured. It is the economic prize of Brexit.

This was exactly the right course. Those arguing to soften those red lines are almost entirely those who regret Brexit and wish to neutralise it.

Sadly, many mistakes were made. A Remainer, Mrs May appointed a weak Cabinet of Remainer friends, most of whom considered Brexit a disaster to be managed rather than a historic opportunity to exploit.

The Brexiteers she did appoint — David Davis, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and later Dominic Raab — were sidelined and ignored.

The Government triggered Article 50 far too early without a plan for our departure. In hindsight it should have made rapid plans for No Deal from the outset, giving us a position of strength from which to negotiate.

Mrs May said “No Deal is better than a bad deal”, only to have Treasury bureaucrats refuse to prepare for it.

After her disastrous 2017 election her sole focus became achieving Brexit while holding her party’s warring factions together and fending off Remainer rebellions in Parliament.

While our economy, employment and wages have grown strongly there has been policy paralysis, with mediocre ministers left blundering along. We need not list here all Britain’s problems. They are many, and obvious.


Her Brexit deal is not the worst imaginable. Those are the so-called Norway Plus option — which is not Brexit in any way — or the permanent Customs Union, brainlessly championed by Corbyn, which destroys the economic case for leaving.

No one should pretend it is a great deal either. But it ensures that Brexit finally happens, ending the fractious Leave/Remain debate and refocusing Britain on the far more crucial negotiations for a future trade agreement.

The DUP and the Tory ERG will have to hold their noses and vote for it. And to win that unlikely support, Mrs May must set in place a truly dignified exit, culminating in a new leader.

Theresa May will then go down in history as a great public servant, as the leader who delivered Brexit and proved to the British people that our democracy is robust and far, far more important than any individual.

PM, it’s time to move on.

End knife crisis

MAKE no mistake: the knife crime epidemic is now a national crisis.

It’s tempting to think that it’s just gangs in London and our other biggest cities that are the cause of rising violence.

But shocking figures demonstrating how far and wide this disease has spread must be a wake-up call for the police, the Home Office and the Cabinet.

That we’ve now got young gangsters playing sick games in which points are awarded for stabbing certain parts of the body can lead to only one conclusion: we’ve completely lost control of our streets.

Throughout the spike in violent crime, the Government has responded with a tin ear. They’ve allowed the Labour Party — under Jeremy Corbyn of all people — to become the party of law and order.

At the last election, the Tories got a battering about police cuts and it was one significant reason they lost their majority.

With the very real possibility of another ballot coming soon, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid and the Chancellor must get a grip.

It’s vital that they give police chiefs the cash and the powers that they need.

Mend our jails

OUR prisons are failing.

The latest revelation, that drugs and phones are being smuggled in via the inside of dead rats, is just a symptom of the mess they’re in.

Prisons should keep people who deserve it locked up and get them ready for a life on the straight and narrow.
Currently they’re failing on all counts.

The Justice Secretary is considering scrapping short sentences because prisons are doing such a bad job of rehabbing people, leaving offenders on our streets who should be behind bars.

And even if they do end up inside, with violence on the up, it’s no surprise lags form rival gangs. That turns prisons into training centres for hardened criminals.

Where is the Government? Promises of reform and a crackdown on violence seem to have produced precious little.

The consequences of a busted prison system will be felt on our streets.

Nail I.S. fighters

SO-CALLED Islamic State might not have any physical presence left, but we can’t be complacent about the murderous ideology they spread across the world.

Their promise of a reign of terror across the continent sends a chill down the spine.

We must find and prosecute those IS fighters who have returned to the UK — believed to be as many as 400 — and spare us the inevitable leftie hand-wringing.

There have already been far too many innocent victims of IS’s twisted dogma.

We must do everything possible to ensure there are no more.

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