Theresa May set to resign amidst Brexit deadlock

May’s three year term heading the British government was almost entirely spent in negotiating and renegotiating United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, which eventually failed

May 24, 2019 by Peoples Dispatch
Theresa May set to resign from party leadership and thus as Prime Minister. Photo: Guardian Nigeria

In an emotional speech delivered earlier today, British prime minister Theresa May has announced that she will be resigning from her position as the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party (Conservative party or the Tory party), effective on June 7. After a week of speculation over her resignation from party leadership and by default the prime ministership, May made the announcement earlier today, outside her prime ministerial residence at 10, Downing Street. May will continue as the prime minister until mid-July, when the Conservative party will elect a new Leader of the Conservative Party and in effect the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.

May’s resignation announcement comes after over six months of back-and-forth with her party and the opposition to vote for a Brexit deal that she spent two and half years negotiating and renegotiating over with the European Union. The deal that was first finalized and submitted to the House of Commons in January, attracted widespread criticisms from both the opposition and the ruling bloc. The deal attracted two motions of no-confidence, one from the ruling bloc and one from the opposition both of which she survived, and was defeated in the House with the biggest margin in British history.

Altered versions of the deal did not help her rally much support from within, and were defeated twice between February and March with large margins, despite trying to rope in the opposition Labour Party and even promising to stand down as prime minister to her own party members.

The resignation is illustrative of the near impossibility of arriving at a deal for Britain to exit from the European Union, cutting short what is to be one of the shortest prime ministerial tenures in British history. The United Kingdom is already past the deadline of exit, which was on March 29, and though it has secured an extension until October 31 of this year.

Some of the most irreconcilable political interests that have caused the deadlock include hardline Brexiters, who have been pushing for a clean exit from the common European market with UK incurring no liabilities, and Irish and Scottish nationalists who have threatened a secessionist political struggle if UK exits from the EU. Between these two ends of the Brexit spectrum, also lie the Irish unionists who do not want Northern Ireland to remain in the EU customs union, the Labour Party leftists who fear rapid breakdown of the British welfare state and rolling back of labor right in the country, communists who are demanding a ‘People’s Brexit’ entailing comprehensive expansion of the welfare state and nationalization of major industries, and also the growing demands for a second Brexit referendum under the campaign of ‘People’s Vote’.