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Forget the withdrawal bill – things could now move very quickly for Theresa May

4 30 0
22.05.2019

After the 2017 general election when Theresa May’s majority evaporated, George Osborne – the chancellor whom she had brutally sacked – described her as a “dead woman walking”. In some ways, the miracle is how a prime minister, with something of a reverse Midas touch when it comes to politics, has kept walking for nearly two years since then. But with just days left of her prime-ministership, she was determined to outline one last big, bold offer on Brexit. Ignoring the requests of advisers and ministers to wait until after tomorrow’s European elections, she pressed ahead with a major speech.

The speech had a serious argument. There’s a lot in it with which it is hard to disagree, including her admission that Brexit was more complicated than many had claimed and would require compromise. Quite. The problem is that the prime minister herself had spent quite some time in office implying that everything was rather binary because Brexit just meant Brexit. Indeed, it was her early actions in office – for example, her stubborn refusal to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK – which helped exacerbate the divisions of the referendum.

There was a powerful logic to much of what May argued. But the speech stuck in the craw of many, especially the implication that the government would not just allow a vote on, but also would implement, a second referendum on Brexit. From my........

© The Guardian