Since last week the mood among Tory MPs, insiders, staffers, officials and activists towards May is beyond exasperation. People talk about her failing health, the croaky voice it is widely believed is psychosomatic not viral, induced by mental stress. People shake their head whilst looking down at the floor when they whisper about how she reacted to the voting down of the second meaningful vote – it is rumoured a doctor was called to the Downing Street flat. People are already beginning to think of her premiership in the past tense.
Fraser Nelson this morning nailed the logic of May offering to go:
“If Mrs May’s deal is voted down again, Parliament could name its preferred form of Brexit. Then at the last minute Brussels would reveal the terms under which it will grant Britain an extension. They would be quickly approved by nervous MPs. It would be the EU that ends up taking back control.
There is an alternative ending to this story. That Brexiteers vote through her (bad) deal, recognising it as the best platform from which to fight for something better. This would be the end: of these talks, at least. A new phase would begin, aimed at securing a trade deal before the general election – so no time to waste. Mrs May then says these new talks need a new leader, so she would go gracefully, thanked for her extraordinary strength, stamina and sense of public duty. She would have completed phase one and kept her party together. Just.”
Her few remaining allies talk of her sense of public duty driving her to see Brexit through no matter what. She has a sure way to encourage most of her party to vote for her deal, by promising in advance to stand down after it passes. Theresa May’s much noted sense of public duty should be the very impetus for her to go…