After more than two years of negotiations with the European Union, Theresa May has finally come to a draft withdrawal agreement for Brexit. This is not the end of a tough road for the Prime Minister however, with a large proportion of MPs threatening to vote against this agreement in Parliament.
Those who are threatening to oppose this deal include politicians from the DUP, the party which are supposed to be the supporting party of the Conservatives. This opposition is over the Irish border, an issue which was always going to cause intense discussion between the UK and the EU.
This is one case where I cannot feel sorry for Theresa May. She called a snap General Election in 2017 thinking that she would gain several seats in the House of Commons to increase her power and to give herself a mandate. Instead, the election result ended up in a hung parliament and the Conservatives had to scramble to get an expensive partnership deal with the DUP.
Some Conservative MPs are also against the agreement. One of the vocal critics of this deal is Jacob Rees-Mogg, someone who could be described as a ‘Hard Brexiteer’. He submitted a vote of no confidence in Theresa May along with other MPs, making the Prime Minister’s job even tougher to get the deal through Parliament.
With Remainers not wanting Brexit at all, this was always going to be a difficult challenge for May. The Prime Minister has voted for Remain herself. This difficulty is combined with the fact that Brexiteers have different ideas from each other on what Brexit actually is. The Cabinet has both Remainers and Brexiteers, emphasising how complex the UK leaving the European Union actually is.
Key members of her cabinet — including the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond — all voted to remain.
Still, you have to wonder whether Jeremy Corbyn would have done any better if he was the prime minister getting a chance to negotiate a withdrawal agreement from the European Union. This was an incredibly difficult set of talks with the EU, especially when considering that a ‘no deal’ would likely be disastrous for the United Kingdom.
This means that the EU held all the main cards when heading into the negotiations, giving them an advantage over the UK. Arguably, Corbyn would be in the same unenviable position if it were him instead of May.
We must also not forget the fact that David Cameron resigned straight after the EU referendum. Arguably, the role of prime minister was now a poisoned chalice after Cameron’s resignation. I have to give credit to Theresa May for at least giving the job a shot, and taking leadership of the country in very uncertain times.
May must not be the only individual that should take the blame for the poor handling of Brexit negotiations. David Davies admitted in December 2017 that impact assessments of Brexit had not yet been carried out by the Government as a whole. Davies should have taken the lead of ensuring that those assessments were complete when he was then-Brexit Secretary.
Theresa May has been given an impossible job in terms of keeping everyone happy with her Brexit deal. What would a satisfactory Brexit deal consist of anyway? This varies from person to person. A large proportion of the UK population do not even want to leave the EU.
Perhaps contingency planning for a ‘no deal’ from the Government has not been well done and/or presented to the public adequately. However, this deal was always going to be an uphill struggle; a deal which was never going to please or appease everyone.
Whatever happens with Brexit, it has been one hell of a process and something that will almost certainly remain as one of the most important events in political history. It has divided the nation, reinforced by the fact that a lot of people reading this may not agree with my stance on Theresa May.
But, nonetheless, the future of this country depends on this Deal.