UK: May fends off challenge by hard-Brexiteers
26 October 2018
UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with backbench Conservative MPs Wednesday evening, gathered by the influential 1922 Committee.
The days leading up to the meeting had a febrile atmosphere, with rumours that May faced an imminent leadership challenge led by hard-Brexit MPs. Sources suggested that the chair of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady, had already received the required 48 letters from MPs to declare a leadership challenge.
The weekend papers noted the incendiary language being used by some hardline Brexiteers, with the Sunday Times speculating May had possibly just 72 hours left in Downing Street. One unnamed MP said that May was entering the “killing zone,” with another saying that the knife “would be stuck in her front and twisted. She’ll be dead soon.”
Instead, May not only survived the Wednesday’s meeting, but accounts also said that she was warmly greeted and met with what the Financial Times called “thunderous applause” as MPs accepted her “heartfelt” plea that they back her soft-Brexit plan to exit the European Union (EU). Michael Fabricant MP described the meeting as a “love-in. … It wasn’t Daniella in the lions’ den, it was a petting zoo.”
“She lives to fight possibly until the next election [set for 2022],” the pro-Brexit MP added.
According to the Guardian, May only faced “a handful of awkward questions from Brexiters including Nadine Dorries, Sir Edward Leigh and Philip Davies, but loyalists said she won over the room. …”
That May, who supported Remain in the 2016 referendum and who has been constantly forced to make concessions to her pro-Brexit wing for the last two years, was able to seize the day in this way reflects a…