Politics update: May under fire over longer Brexit transition period, backbenchers revolt

Therese May

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May confirms Brexit transition period could be extended

Theresa May Brexit


Theresa May has come under fire from all sides after she signalled she was considering extending the Brexit implementation period. EU leaders are no reportedly ready to wave through any request for the UK to extend the transition period by a year.

On her arrival to day two of the Brussels summit on Thursday, May stated: “A further idea that has emerged – is to create an option to extend the implementation period for a matter of months,”

“But the point is that this is not expected to be used, because we are working to ensure that we have that future relationship in place by the end of December 2020. I’m clear that it is possible to do that and that is what we are working for.”

Nick Boles, a former Tory minister, called the idea of extending the transition period as a “desperate last move”.

“It’s a classic of negotiations that she keeps on thinking that one more concession is going to somehow [succeed], with one bound and she’s free, and she’s not going to be free, she’s getting ever more trapped,” he said.

Ex-Brexit secretary David Davis has stated he thinks May’s plans offer “less control over our destiny”, as he continues to deride the PM’s strategy. Talking to the Evening Standard, Davis said: “This is moving in the wrong direction. This is what the EU wants, so why are we offering it?”

“It involves more money, more restrictions, and less control over our own destiny,m and it does not deliver any promise of any future economic partnership of any sort.”

Angela Merkel: EU must pursue “all avenues” to reach a deal

Angela Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders appear to now show support for May getting a deal through parliament.

Referring to May getting a deal through the Commons, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, said: “It will be done.” Juncker reportedly told EU heads of state that the PM needed “help” to sell a deal in parliament.

Merkel is quoted by the Guardian as having said that “where there is a will, there is a way.” Interestingly, this was also her chosen line to encourage Greece to work with EU leaders to secure their bailout. 

Tory backbencher calls May’s government a ‘sh*tshow”

A prominent Conservative backbencher has lashed out at the Conservative government, local politics, and Theresa May’s leadership, calling it a “sh*tshow”, and saying he wouldn’t vote for the Conservatives if he wasn’t an MP.

Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View since 2015, told House magazine that he would not try and enter parliament in the current circumstances. He told the magazine: “If the situation was like it is now, I can safely say there would be absolutely no chance that I would try and be a member of parliament.”

Mercer then moved to imply his dismay at May’s leadership, saying: “The party will never really change until you have somebody who is leading the party who has won a seat and knows what it’s like to go out every weekend and advocate for what you just voted for that week,”

He added: “We’ve lost focus on that for some very good, very capable but ultimately technocrats and managers. That’s not what Britain’s about.”

The moment Penny Mordaunt is ambushed by protester

The international development secretary, Penny Mordaunt, was ambushed on stage by a protester, who accused her of silencing women who try to speak out about sex abuse by aid workers.

The protester accused Mordaunt of trying to “control women” by denying them centre-stage at an international summit where she promised “root-and-branch” reform to end the scandal.

“This platform is not for you today – it is for the people doing this,” she told her, warning she had announced “nothing” to tackle the crisis.

The protester, Alexia Pepper de Caires – a former whistleblower at Save the Children, told reporters afterwards: “The signals were that a number of women who have been more radically vocal about what has been happening were not being reached out to.”

“I thought all along that this conference needed to be more than just a shiny, glossy piece for the cameras and press to say all the right things are being done.  “It was dishonest, it is ineffective and it won’t result in change.”


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Daniel Cody

Daniel Cody is SEO Editor at the New Statesman, and the creator of No Majesty. He is the host of the podcast Britain on the Rocks.