The Prime Minister believes she is in a position to do so – Mrs May says it remains her intention to fight the next election as Tory leader in spite of her humbling experience at the polls in June.
Yet, to do so, she needs to lead from the front – and start setting the policy agenda – rather than relying upon the threat of a Ministerial reshuffle to bring some of her more irksome colleagues into line.
Internationally, the North Korea nuclear crisis requires statesmanship and cool heads. It’s paramount that Britain is at the forefront of diplomatic attempts to lessen the threat posed by Kim Jong-un while being a critical friend of President Donald Trump’s administration in America. Is Mrs May – and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson – capable of this? Time will tell.
Nationally, this Parliament’s defining issue will be Brexit. Yet, while the Government has shown greater consistency than Labour, and accepted that Britain will have to leave the single market, there’s a sense, certainly amongst the business community, that Mrs May’s approach lacks urgency or clarity.
She needs to go on a charm offensive and start explaining to industrialists, and all those families whose incomes have been squeezed for the best part of a decade, how Brexit will work in practice. At present, arguments between rival political factions are detracting attention away from the practicalities and their impact on day-to-day life.
And while public sector pay is one of the more pressing domestic issues as renewed concerns are expressed about creaking services, there’s no sense – yet – that Theresa May is a genuine One Nation premier who truly recognise the economic opportunities that exist in these parts.
Like her predecessor, the Prime Minister – and her senior colleagues – give the impression that they regard the North as an inconvenient after-thought.
It’s not, and if Ministers are committed to rebalancing the economy, clear progress on devolution, and a cast-iron commitment to transform trans-Pennine rail links, will help to reassure those in this region who genuinely want this Government to succeed and make a positive difference.