Sun | Jan 17, 2021

May fights back against critics amid Brexit upheaval

Published:Saturday | November 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London, last Friday.


British Prime Minister Theresa May fought back against critics of her Brexit deal yesterday, telling opponents from within her party that their alternative plans for Britain's departure from the European Union wouldn't work.

May is battling to win over rebels in her Conservative Party and to preserve her position as prime minister after a gruelling week in which party members plotted to oust her and two Cabinet ministers quit within hours of her government striking the long-sought divorce agreement with the European Union (EU).

In a public relations offensive, May revealed in a Daily Mail interview how her husband supported her during "a pretty heavy couple of days".

Calling her husband, Philip, her "rock", May said that when the Conservative revolt erupted last Wednesday, the first thing he did was pour her a whisky.

She also laid into political opponents, saying their ideas for resolving the biggest stumbling block in EU-UK negotiations - avoiding a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit - wouldn't resolve the problem.

"People say, 'If you could only just do something slightly different, have a Norway model or a Canada model, this backstop issue would go away.' It would not. That issue is still going to be there," May said in the interview published yesterday.

"Some politicians get so embroiled in the intricacies of their argument they forget it is not about this theory or that theory, or does it make me look good," she added.

While May appeared to have survived the week, her headaches are far from over. Disaffected 'Brexiteers' think they have the numbers required to trigger a challenge to her leadership within days.

They are aiming for 48 letters of no confidence, the number needed for a vote under Conservative Party rules. So far, more than 20 lawmakers have publicly said they submitted such letters.