This has undoubtedly been the toughest week in a somewhat topsy-turvy reign for Theresa May.
But now, after months of negotiation with The European Union, she has returned with a draft proposal of what our future relationship with the EU may look like.
The 585-page document explains the terms of the United Kingdom’s departure whilst also including some of the financial information and details of citizens’ rights for Brits abroad and Europeans living in the UK once we leave.
We’ve made decisive progress delivering Brexit. Here is the Draft Withdrawal Agreement and Outline Political Declaration explained. pic.twitter.com/SZTxsbvCXj
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) 15 November 2018
However, the Brexit deal that she has proposed has come under huge amounts of scrutiny from both Conservative MP’s, and those on the opposite bench of the House of Commons. Former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who resigned in protest of the proposals, called the deal ‘a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom’.
After the resignation of David Davis back in July, two Brexit Secretary’s gone doesn’t look good at all.
The area of the proposal he referred to in his resignation letter, will see Northern Ireland remain part of the Customs Union. This will allow for friction-less trade between Northern and Southern Ireland without a hard border, the same as it is now.
Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU. Here is my letter to the PM explaining my reasons, and my enduring respect for her. pic.twitter.com/tf5CUZnnUz
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) 15 November 2018
The big question is how many MP’s are against her deal?
One thing is for sure – Theresa May is struggling.
After consulting her cabinet on the details of the Brexit deal, five subsequently resigned in protest.
One of her most vocal Brexit critics, Jacob Rees-Mogg, confirmed this week he has submitted a letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee.
The 1922 Committee is private Conservative board chaired by Tory MP, Sir Graham Brady. If he receives letters of no confidence from at least 15% of Conservative MP’s, a secret ballot will be triggered.
Members of the Conservative Party will then have the chance to vote for, or against Theresa May to continue to lead the party. If she wins, there cannot be another ballot for at least a year. But if she loses, there will be an in-house leadership election in which she cannot run.
It is not currently known how many Tory MP’s have submitted letters to Mr Brady but one of Gloucestershire’s MP’s has. MP for Tewkesbury Laurence Robertson has written on his website:
“The proposals being made do not reflect the “Brexit means Brexit” and Lancaster House stances which the Prime Minister has previously taken.”
“To me, Theresa May has thereby demonstrated that she has the wrong priorities. Although I have always held strong reservations about her leadership, I was prepared to give her time to demonstrate that she really did believe that Brexit means Brexit.”
Mr Robertson’s full statement can be read below.
Update: Brexit Negotiations https://t.co/vCnYzeMdDJ
— Laurence Robertson (@lrobertsonTewks) 15 November 2018
Will Mrs May keep her job?
Speculation continues regarding her future.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister took questions at a press conference, saying “I will see through the Brexit deal.”
How Mrs May can get this through Parliament at this stage is anyone’s guess.
A vast number of her own MP’s are standing against this deal, along with those from opposition parties.
The only vocal backer of the deal, from an opposition party is Stephen Lloyd of the Liberal Democrats. The MP for Eastbourne has said he will respect the result of the EU Referendum for his constituents.
It is likely for more MP’s to back the Prime Minister closer to the vote.
Labour need to be careful. That’s the view of Caroline Flint, MP for Don Valley. She fears a potential backlash against the Labour party if the wishes of their constituencies are not met. However, the majority of Labour MP’s are predicted to vote down the deal.
Leader, Jeremy Corbyn will vote against, and most of his party are expected to follow suit.
So can the draft agreement or deal get through parliament?
If (or when) the Brexit plan is rejected in The House of Commons, the process is essentially back to square one. If the deal does not get through Parliament, the Prime Minister will have a few weeks to amend the deal and try again.
If this is still rejected, it is possible the UK will subsequently crash out of the EU with no deal; face another General Election, or even hold a second referendum.
At this stage, she does not have enough party support to get the current EU proposals through Parliament, but this could easily change.
For Theresa May to have any chance of getting this deal through Parliament, she needs to drum up support for her EU proposals. And fast.
Otherwise, Brexit may never happen.