As May faces leadership challenge, Corbyn and Labour make Brexit pitch to employers’ groups
2 February 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May is declared “as vulnerable as she’s ever been” to a leadership challenge amid factional warfare in the Conservative Party.
May has faced rebellion from both pro-Remain forces seeking to ensure a “soft Brexit”—maintaining access to the Single European Market—and the “hard-Brexit” advocates who see this as a backdoor method of overturning the result of last year’s referendum decision to quit the European Union (EU). May, who must straddle this divide, is being shot at by both sides.
The Brexit row escalated last week after Chancellor Philip Hammond stated that the UK and EU economies should diverge only “very modestly” after Brexit. Pro-Brexit MPs reacted with fury, demanding that Hammond be sacked for suggesting that the UK would remain in the EU “in all but name.”
Of potential challengers to May, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson announced that he would be making a speech on the democratic case for Brexit that is intended to upstage a planned address by May. Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the European research group of pro-Leave backbenchers, told ITV’s “Peston on Sunday” that, for the moment, he was “being as loyal as could possibly be on the policy question, and I am biting my tongue on the personality question.”
A media campaign was launched to discredit Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, over an affair and his comments that Russia was preparing to kill “thousands and thousands and thousands” through cyber-attacks on UK infrastructure.
The Daily Telegraph leaked a private email by Energy Minister Claire Perry attacking pro-Brexit MPs as “swivel-eyed.” “The ‘sell out…