The Conservative civil war over Theresa May’s Chequers plan for Brexit appears to be spiralling towards an inevitable leadership challenge.
Boris Johnson’s scathing attack on Mrs May’s Brexit strategy, which he branded it a “fix” that can only lead to a European Union victory, was met by a stinging rebuke by Downing Street suggesting the ex-foreign secretary is offering “no new ideas” and no credible alternative plan.
Perhaps the biggest concern is that the criticisms from both sides carry considerable weight. Mrs May’s plan to align many UK standards to EU rules appears unworkable, given it is currently opposed by prominent Leavers and Remainers within her own party - as well as the European Commission itself, which is seeking further far-reaching compromises.
But equally, Mr Johnson and his acolytes who campaigned so hard for Brexit have not put forward anything like viable solutions themselves. Mr Johnson says of the vital Irish border issue that; “It is fixable. The scandal is not that we have failed, but that we have not even tried.” Mr Johnson may wish to be reminded he was a senior Cabinet minister for two years who appears to have failed to put forward the apparently-simple solution he now believes can be found while he sat at the heart of Government.
The sad reality is whoever proves to be the winner in the Conservative Party tussle between Mrs May and Mr Johnson, the nation is losing out with less than seven months to go until the UK is due to leave the European Union and little sense of a coherent vision for Britain’s post-Brexit future.