Conservative U.K. government teeters on brink of collapse over Brexit
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Nov. 14. | Matt Dunham / AP

LONDON—Theresa May’s “incompetent” Tory Party teetered on the brink of collapse today as her “chaotic” Brexit deal led to a wave of calls for her to quit.

The Prime Minister was seriously undermined by the resignations of Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey, with other Tories following suit.

Hard-right Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg called for a vote of no confidence in May in outrage over her Brexit deal.

In his resignation letter, Raab said the regulatory regime proposed in the deal “prevents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom,” and said he could not support a deal where the EU has a “veto over our ability to exit.”

McVey, who followed suit within the hour, said in her letter: “We have gone from no deal is better than a bad deal, to any deal is better than no deal.

“I cannot defend this, and I cannot vote for this deal.”

Two more junior ministers, including junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman, two parliamentary private secretaries, and Conservative Party vice chair Rehman Chishti also quit.

May stood for three hours in the House of Commons urging members to back her deal or face “more uncertainty, more division, and a failure to deliver on the decision of the British people to leave the EU.”

She urged her colleagues to “seize the opportunities that lie ahead” in the deal.

But Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn slammed May’s plan as a “damning failure” that cannot offer the country the chance to actually take back control of the British economy.

“After two years of bungled negotiations, the government has produced a botched deal that breaches the Prime Minister’s own red lines and does not meet our six tests,” he said.

“The government is in chaos. Their deal risks leaving the country in an indefinite halfway house without a real say.

“When even the Brexit secretary who, theoretically at least, negotiated the deal says ‘I cannot support the proposed deal,’ what faith does that give anyone else in this place or in the country?

“The government simply cannot put to Parliament this half-baked deal that both the Brexit secretary and his predecessor have rejected.”

Corbyn also criticized the PM for locking Britain into a deal “from which it cannot leave without the agreement of the EU,” casting doubt on her promise of a fully working relationship between Britain and the EU by January 2021.

He also drew attention to her agreements about restrictions on state aid and competition laws, saying that this economically limits the power of the country.

And he derided the government’s inability to get a clear deal on the single market, to show any clarity on the Northern Ireland border question or to have any real immigration policy.

“This is not the deal the country was promised and Parliament cannot and I believe will not accept a false choice between this bad deal and no deal,” Corbyn continued.

“People around the country will be feeling anxious this morning about the industries they work in, the jobs they hold, and about the stability of this country.

“The government must now withdraw this half-baked deal which it is clear does not have the backing of the Cabinet, this Parliament, or the country.”

Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party’s annual conference in Liverpool, England, Wednesday Sept. 26. | Peter Byrne / PA via AP

At the time of going to print, Rees-Mogg was encouraging others to move against May following his letter of no confidence.

Shadow justice minister Richard Burgon said: “It’s become abundantly clear that Theresa May is a King Canute Prime Minister and the tide is coming in.

“It is time for Theresa May and her rotten and incompetent government to go.”

CWU general secretary Dave Ward added to the chorus of voices demanding May’s resignation, saying: “We need an election, [the Tories] gone, and a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government in place.

“Move over May. It’s time for the People’s Prime Minister.”

Speaking at a press conference as the Star went to press, May insisted that she believes in her deal “with every fiber of my being” and thanked those who resigned for their service.

Morning Star


Marcus Barnett
Marcus Barnett

Young Labour International Officer. Secretary of London Young Labour. RMT union Regional Political Officer. Writes for Britain's Morning Star and Jacobin Magazine.