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Osborne’s Standard has surely got this right – TMay is in office but not in power

March 14th, 2019

As we move into the most difficult fortnight for a prime minister in decades the former Chancellor and now editor of The London Evening Standard, George Osborne, has come out with the above front page about Theresa May.

He’s right. A situation where ministers feel able to ignore the government line is dangerous enough and, without sackings or resignations, almost unprecedented.

I always thought she was wrong to try to hang onto her job after losing the Tories their majority in the needless general election that she called. Clearly this has taken an enormous amount out of her not helped by her voice going at a critical moment.

Later today the Commons is likely to vote for an effort to be made to extend the Article 50 timetable so the UK doesn’t leave the EU as planned on March 29th.

In spite of last night’s vote legislation is required to extend the date from the British perspective and we don’t know how the EU will react.

It must be asked whether the PM has the personal and political strength to take this forward though a Tory leadership contest at this time would simply amplify the crisis.

Meanwhile business is totally unable to make plans because it does not know what will happen. What has been widely underestimated is the extent that so much of commercial and industrial activity is integrated into Europe already.

I always thought that TMay’s objective was laudable. She was trying to honour the result of the referendum while at the same time doing so in a way that caused the minimum amount of damage to the British economy. Unfortunately her lack of flexibility and other personal characteristics have been exposed.

Mike Smithson