Every day seems to bring another Brexit challenge for UK Prime Minister Theresa May. Her harsh words for a former PM highlight her frustrations.
Last week Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May survived a confidence motion against her leadership of the Conservative Party. As reported by CNN, “May won by 200 votes to 117, meaning that a third of her parliamentary party failed to back her. The size of the rebellion underscored the daunting task faced by the Prime Minister if she is to secure approval in a divided House of Commons for her imperiled Brexit deal.”
Former Prime Minister and leader of the British Labour Party, Tony Blair called for a second national referendum in response to the ongoing Brexit tension overseen by Prime Minister May during a Sky News interview:
“The deal that the PM’s finally concluded with the EU is a deal that nobody really wants. So I think that the logical thing is to go back to the people and say – you’re going to have to give us direction because parliament can’t agree on one form of Brexit and it’s clear that as a result of this negotiation our knowledge of what Brexit really means has been vastly enlarged.”
“I have never lost sight of my duty and that is to deliver on the referendum result and to do so in a way that protects British jobs, keeps us safe and protects our precious union,” May began in a response towards Blair and other returning to Brussels after she failed negotiation. “However, there are too many people who want to subvert the process for their own political interests – rather than acting in the national interest,” she continued.
“For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served. We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision. Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for,” May concluded.
Calls For Second Referendum
Despite May’s anger towards a second referendum, the topic has been of popular conversation of late. Over the past several months, intensifying after May released her original Brexit plan. “A campaign group called Business for a People’s Vote, launched on Thursday, said that 57% of firms are in favour [sic] of a second referendum, according to a new YouGov poll, with support building day by day,” reported the Guardian in early November.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has even called a second ‘People’s Vote.’
If you truly want ‘the will of the British people’ to be implemented, you’ll be happy to have a second referendum to confirm what their will is. If you’re afraid your lies won’t fly twice and that breaking electoral law might be much harder a 2nd time, not so much. #PeoplesVote
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 10, 2018
Labour Member of Parliament (MP) David Lammy has also called for a second referendum in recent days, “We’ve now had for the last 2 1/2 years a very heated debate — a debate that it would have been nice if we’d had for the last 30 years — about our relationship with Europe,” he stated during a conversation on Here & Now w/Jeremy Hobson. “I think the British public are more informed, but more importantly, they can vote on something that is in front of them: You’ve got Theresa May’s deal and all that’s been said about it, and you have what you know already, which is our relationship with the European Union within the European Union,” he continued.
Lammy’s comments represent a strong faction of the United Kingdom populace, in October a ‘remain’ rally saw an estimated 700,000 take part in what was called the ‘People’s Vote March.’
What’s Next For May?
Theresa May will continue to negotiate a better European Union with leaders over the next few weeks. If she is unable to improve her current position, the Labour Party will likely call for a motion of no confidence in attempts to dissolve the current Conservative-led government.
If May were to lose such a motion, the United Kingdom would likely have to move towards a second referendum vote with no real Brexit deal on the table.