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BREXIT Everything Changes

Friday 24 May and nearly three years after taking office, Teresa May’s time as Prime Minister drew to a close today, as she announced her resignation as Conservative Party Leader early in June.

She will however remain as PM until a new Party Leader is selected, possibly sometime in July.

I can’t help thinking this feels like the end of Season One of this ongoing Brexit saga, with the lead character killed off and enemies closing in on all sides. More drama will come in Season Two….

A clear Remain supporter at the time of the 2016 referendum, Mrs May took office as the only candidate ultimately willing to take on the task, pledging to deliver on the result of the Brexit referendum and take the UK out of the EU.

How history will judge her three years as PM remains to be seen:

She had an impossible task, to deliver a Brexit that the EU 27, her own split party, the DUP and Parliament could all back. The disastrous 2017 snap election was a massive set back. That election was all about building a majority to see a Brexit deal through. In reality she just gave away the slim majority she had and was left leading a minority government jacked up by the DUP.

Her Brexit deal, agreed with the EU last Autumn, was clearly not a good deal for the UK and she lost two Ministers for Brexit, David Davies and Dominic Raab as a result. What followed in Parliament was the biggest defeat for a serving Prime Minister, cabinet resignations and a deep split in her party and across Parliament. Anarchy and division then ruled Parliament in the three months up to the original 29 March deadline and nothing much has changed since.

David Cameron launched the Brexit referendum in 2016 without a sketch of a plan what to do if he lost, possibly one of the biggest political blunders of modern times. His lamentable reaction was to cut and run and Teresa May was the only one to step forward into the void. She tried to sort out the mess and I think history will be kinder to her than it will be to him.

As I have said before, changing the Prime Minister will not change the arithmetic in the Conservative Party, or in Parliament and the EU will not renegotiate the deal. The impasse remains and the government will now spend the summer rearranging its proverbial deckchairs.

Teresa May delivered to Parliament the reality of what Brexit really was and Parliament didn’t like it. That is not her fault, she tried her best, stuck to her guns and time will possibly prove her Brexit deal is the best we will get from the EU. Others will now get the opportunity to try and do better.

In my last post, I quoted Sharleen Spiteri, but having spent last Friday evening at Arena Birmingham with 14,000 ladies of a certain age and 503 middle aged blokes, I feel it may be apt to misquote, Gary Barlow: “The rumours true, the taxi cab is waiting, we’re a thousand miles apart, everything changes but you….”

One thing is for sure, Brexit is not happening any time soon and there is the possibility that Brexit died today……

Martin Gibbs is Dafferns Managing Partner. He likes talking about BREXIT. Any political views in this post are his own.