THE FUNDAMENTAL problem with Tory and Labour cross-party talks on Brexit is that they only began at the very end of Britain’s fraught negotiations with the European Union rather than at the outset of Theresa May’s premiership when she was better placed to try and unite the country following the June 2016 EU referendum.
Now, after the collapse of discussions ahead of next Thursday’s EU elections and a fourth Commons vote in early June on Mrs May’s deeply disliked Withdrawal Agreement, it appears the weight – and complexity – of Brexit will bring down the Government and that Britain will remain in limbo until the Tories task a new leader with forming a new administration in a hung parliament where the word ‘compromise’ is an alien concept.
Even though Labour was committed at the last election to implementing the referendum result, its hesitancy is understandable, to a degree, because no one – not least the Tory party – knows whether any agreements will be honoured if a more committed Brexiteer like Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab replaces Mrs May.
And here is the irony. By making Mrs May’s position untenable, and triggering a protracted leadership contest, Tory malcontents are not only delaying the UK’s departure from the EU in an orderly manner, but it is still difficult to see how a more Eurosceptic leader will be able to command the Commons unless their intention is to contravene previous Parliamentary votes and leave the EU without a deal. Perhaps the Tory contenders could clarify matters this weekend for our benefit – and the rest of the country.