Theresa May’s so-called “Plan B” for Brexit has been widely derided by analysts as a crude repackaging of her initial plan, which was rejected last week in the House of Commons by a record number of votes.
The British prime minister presented her updated exit strategy to parliament on Monday, outlining a number of minor adjustments to her first proposal, but failing to address the most contentious issues, such as the Northern Ireland backstop.
The plan has received a chilly reception from lawmakers, analysts and the press. With Brexit scheduled to trigger on March 29, May’s critics allege that the prime minister is incapable of delivering a plan supported by the British people.
‘Plan A with a different shirt and tie’
By far the most widespread criticism of May’s new plan is that it doesn’t appear to be significantly different from Plan A – which suffered a crushing defeat in parliament.
In fact, the fundamental problem with May’s new plan is that it’s not new at all, John Wight, political commentator and journalist, told RT. According to Wight, Plan B “is merely Plan A is a different shirt and tie. Just a tweak here and there, no meaningful change whatsoever.”
David Coburn, a Euroskeptic MEP from Scotland, was equally unimpressed by May’s latest proposal, saying she has completely lost the plot of what she was supposed to be doing.
“She hasn’t got a plan B. She hasn’t got a plan anything. She’s got a plan T for Titanic,” he said.
Thom Brooks, professor of law and government and the dean at Durham Law School, agreed, describing the deal as a dud, saying that May has essentially offered nothing new to parliament.
Time for May to go?
While members of her own Conservative Party rebelled against her in last week’s vote, May has nonetheless managed to survive two votes of no confidence. Her reliance on party loyalty may be misplaced in the long-term, however, as anger over May’s handling of Brexit continues to grow.
“She’s been mucking about for two years,” Coburn told RT. “We voted to get out of the European Union, she should respect that and just get on with it. That’s why she was elected. That’s what she told us she was going to do. Quite frankly, we’ve got to get rid of her.” He said the best thing May could do now is to resign.
Brooks made a similar argument, accusing May of acting in “bad faith.”
“For almost two years she’s been promising to work across different parties. She’s been promising to be open and keep people in the loop. And she’s been shown to do anything but that.” Noting that members of her own cabinet weren’t even informed about the original deal until September, the professor added: “I think this is really too little, too late. A lot of it done in bad faith. She has no imagination, really, for how to move forward. She seems to want to just stick with her plan and force it through a parliament and a public that doesn’t want it.”
Wight said that May was “delusional to think she can salvage” her deal with such an uninspired Plan B.
“She has learned nothing and forgotten everything [from the failed parliamentary vote] – as if last week didn’t happen in her eyes. I really don’t know what makes Theresa May tick.”
He suggested that extending the deadline for Article 50, which would trigger Britain’s exit from the EU, may be necessary in order to avoid a “no-deal” scenario.
With the March 29 deadline just around the corner, May’s strategy may be to play a game of chicken with parliament – offering her deeply unpopular deal as the only alternative to a hard Brexit.
“She’s playing politics now with this issue. And that’s criminal, given how seismic the issue is and the stakes involved. She’s clearly trying to run down the clock until March 29, saying it’s either my deal or no deal,” Wight mused.
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