As Britons continue to watch and wait for their government to deliver the Brexit they democratically voted for, the United Kingdom will now take part in European Parliament elections on May 23 as – according to Prime Minister Theresa May's de facto deputy David Lidington – there is not enough time left to get an exit deal ratified by Parliament before then. "
The elections – following last week’s local elections in England, which saw a dramatic fall in support for both the Conservative and Labour parties, will cost over GBP 95 million. Many in Britain believe them to be a waste of time and the public on both the Leave and on Remain side appears to be looking for ways to punish the traditional parties and send a message of revolt.
The new Brexit Party, led by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, is leading the polls with over 30 percent support and projected to gain a healthy number of seats in the EU Parliament. Turnout in EU elections is historically low in the UK, but this year high numbers are expected to use their vote as a fresh ballot on Brexit. Mr. Farage recently welcomed former Conservative Shadow Minister Ann Widdecombe into the party, who claims many of her Conservative colleagues have given up on PM May.
The Sunday Times reported that the Conservatives would offer new concessions to Labour in a Brexit agreement for their cooperation to pass a deal, including a temporary customs union with the EU until a national election is due in June 2022, at which point “Labour could use their manifesto to argue for a softer Brexit if they wanted to and a new Conservative prime minister could argue for a harder Brexit.” Most Conservatives oppose a customs union since it would stop Britain from reaching its own trade deals with other countries.
Brexiteer MP Andrea Jenkyns called on PM May to quit in the Commons, saying, “She’s tried her best. Nobody could fault or doubt her commitment and sense of duty – but she has failed. The public no longer trust her to run Brexit negotiations. Isn’t it time to step aside and let someone else lead our country, our party and the Brexit negotiations?” To which PM May retorted, “This is not an issue about me and it’s not an issue about her. If it were an issue about me and the way I vote, we would already have left the European Union.”
The 1922 Committee capitulated to PM May delay tactics once again. The Prime Minister had been given a deadline of 4pm on Wednesday to set out a timetable for her departure, but she bought herself another week when backbench MPs agreed to meet with her next week. The Committee had discussed changing its rules to allow a confidence vote in the leader to be held every 6 months rather than every 12 months, as is currently the case, which would allow another confidence vote to be held next month. However, the executive narrowly voted against a rule change.
Sir Graham Brady, Chairman of the Committee said PM May intended to put a Withdrawal Agreement Bill before Parliament again “in the near future.” Leaving the meeting, Nadine Dorries said, “She’s not given any decision, there’s no timetable and they need to get on with it. We need to make sure we get that final decision soon.”