Will May buckle under barrage?

The Prime Minister has stirred up a cauldron of fury over her plans for Brexit, with the Tory Party split open in a way that has never been seen before.

Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 5:52 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th November 2018, 6:54 am

Each day produces more problems for her Tory Brexiteer would-be rebels. The news that Brussels wants to extend the transition period by two years has made them almost apoplectic with rage.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister appears to be running an almost ‘one-man band’ last-minute operation in Brussels. Is her new Brexit Secretary, Stephen Barclay, being left out in the cold?

But May refuses, of her own volition, to shift from Downing Street or to drop or even amend her heavily criticised Chequers proposals.

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She has stood up remarkably well to this unprecedented barrage with which she is confronted every day. There is no let-up. But of course, she has no control over the rebels who may be able to produce enough numbers to force a vote of confidence on her leadership. Loyalty and discretion were once the hallmarks of the Conservative Party. That is no longer the case. Meanwhile, Labour remain at sixes-and-sevens. The whole shebang is a woeful mess. So, as the Tory whips metaphorically twist arms and issue threats to would-be rebels, the British political system is gradually being reduced to rubble. Whoever suspected that the referendum would lead to such a dire situation?

- David Miliband, who was beaten by his brother Ed for the Labour Party leadership, is, I understand, being considered as the ideal person to head up a proposed new Centrist Party. But you would need to be someone with superhuman persuasive powers to lure him back. For Miliband is in New York running the International Rescue Committee, a US charity, at an eye-watering salary of £680,000. But that aside, the idea of a new Centrist Party is easy to talk about, but a lot less easy to achieve. Remember the SNP of the early-1980s, with its famous Gang of Four leadership? If ever a new party did see the light of day, I would not risk a penny of my life savings on its longevity. Nor, I am sure, would Miliband himself risk even a small fraction of his.