I have argued for some time that Theresa May would not survive long as leader of the Tories due to her absolute lack of support and popularity within her own party. I have argued that May was a ‘caretaker’ leader, who would be permitted to get the brexit ball rolling but who would be replaced before a general election. I have also argued that she called the election on the 8th June as a means of shoring up her leadership in the face of an imminent leadership challenge. Well, she had her election about her leadership and Britain has resolutely rejected her.
Britain agreed with May’s own party that they did not believe she was strong or stable. Just as her own party did not believe she was the correct person to lead the Tory party (and, by extension, Britain) into and through the upcoming brexit negotiations, Britain also did not believe Theresa May was the best person to lead brexit negotiations.
May gambled her party’s slim Parliamentary majority and lost. More than that. I maintained that May’s performances during PMQs were an indication of why she had had to run for the Tory leadership unopposed and why her rivals were whittled down to one and then that one was taken out of the race by a concerted media campaign. May’s election campaign managed to lose an expected landslide victory and an overwhelming lead in the polls.
When May made her ‘victory’ speech in Maidenhead (or ‘this town’, as she would likely know it) she knew that the margin of her election victory was not going to be by a majority of 100 seats but no majority at all. The result will have come as no surprise to those voices within her party that have long argued that she would be an election liability and who had been jockeying for the leadership challenge that prompted May to make her shock election announcement.
Britain now faces a situation where the caretaker leader of the Tories has become a squatter in Downing Street. Theresa May lost the election to give her a mandate to lead Britain into the brexit negotiations and she is currently making pledges with the controversial DUP to maintain her weak grasp of power. More than that, Theresa May directly asked Britain for a mandate to lead Britain into those negotiations and Britain rejected her. By stumbling on, Theresa May is defying the will of the people from an election that she called for personal gain. May called an election for a mandate to lead Britain into the brexit negotiations, was rejected at that election and then simply carries on as if the election never happened. It is farcical.