I may not a Brit but I will add my voice to the increasing chorus demanding that UK Prime Minister Theresa May resign.
Even after her party’s defeat and loss of their majority in the recent election, May has still resisted calls to resign, claiming that she would remain Prime Minister for the sake of maintaining stability in the British government, especially as the UK begins the next round of Brexit negotiations shortly.
Ironically, May remaining Prime Minister will offer little stability like she claims and in fact, worsens an already delicate situation for the Conservatives. Now that they no longer have a majority of the seats in Parliament, they must make an alliance with another party. To govern, one needs more than half of the seats in Parliament, 326 to be exact. However, the Conservatives now only have 318 seats, having lost 13 of them in the recent election. All the other political parties in the UK Parliament however also do not have a majority to command and would have to team up with the Conservatives to create a government. Unfortunately for the Conservatives, almost every other party has refused to consider the idea of allying with Conservatives, leaving their only hope to be the Democratic Union Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland which has 10 seats.
May has so far begun negotiations with the DUP for a coalition government but even now, no agreement has yet to be reached and because of DUP’s socially conservative platform, some Conservative MPs are uncomfortable about supporting this coalition, especially because the DUP is pro-life and anti-LBGT. May of course has no choice and the only alternative is to command a “rare minority” government in which she negotiates support from different parties depending on different agenda items.
In the long run, Parliamentary politics are going to get very complicated and growing numbers of MPs in May’s own ranks are now demanding she resign. But the most poignant argument I have heard for May’s resignation is one I will repeat here. This entire election the UK just held was called early, three years early in fact. The last election was in 2015 and the next one was slated to be in 2020, which would be one year after Brexit negotiations were finalized with the EU.
May was apparently upset she didn’t have the support she felt she deserved when going into the Brexit negotiations, wanting to push a harder and cleaner Brexit and not happy that members of her own party were opposed to some of her terms. May then had called the referendum in hopes that she would get an even larger majority to be able to negotiate better, encouraging UK citizens that this would be a referendum on her own leadership.
Unfortunately for May, the UK’s voters took her up on that offer and her party lost its majority. Interestingly, although May claims that we should respect the results of the UK Brexit referendum and completely pull the UK out of the EU, she apparently doesn’t want to respect or recognize the results of this “referendum” that doesn’t favor her. Yes, the British people chose to leave the EU but it is also abundantly clear that they do not feel May is the right person to negotiate that exit and perhaps also do not approve of the hard-Brexit approach she is so keen on taking.
Likely, May will try to remain in power but the more she struggles to retain power, the closer she gets to losing it. She made a gamble and to be fair, at first, the polls and precedent were clearly in her favor. But her lackluster campaign style combined with her general personality led to the resurgence of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn. Just like when Prime Minister Cameron resigned after the British people chose to leave the EU over his clear preferred choice of remaining in, May should resign and let another take up the mantle of negotiating Brexit and steering the Conservative Party on the right track. Anything else is selfish and will only hurt her and her own party further.
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