THERESA May has in many ways had a charmed life thus far when it comes to managing the internal affairs of the Conservative Party. You may look at the constant barrage of media coverage of Cabinet/Party splits and scoff at that suggestion but its true.
It is something of a minor miracle she has made it this far without a major resignation over Brexit. Time after time she has been pushed to the brink but never over the edge by either side – yet.
However, kicking the can down the road is all well and good, that is until you run out of road to kick the can down. Today could well be that day, the day when ‘Theresa The Appeaser’s’ luck finally runs out.
One of the problems that the PM has is that the external factors keeping her own collection of bas***** in line are losing their potency. Sure, the government is still reliant on the DUP but not to survive. The Fixed Term Parliaments Act means that effectively the only way there can be a General Election is if the government falls on its own sword and that is exactly what happened with the snap election last year – the government trooped through the lobbies to dissolve itself.
A government in chaos, eating itself alive is unlikely to commit hara-kiri by voting to go to the polls. A clear lack of a credible and immediate outside threat, exemplified by steadily climbing poll ratings and a reasonable local elections performance this year, is a double-edged sword for Mrs May, it makes it safer for would be rebels to rebel with impunity and it gives them less reason to keep her in situ if things go pear-shaped.
It is conceivable that a new leader of the Conservatives, after a period of stabilisation, would seek to go to the people for a mandate but Mrs May herself is unlikely to want to repeat the omnishambles of 2017 and put herself out of office. In reality, if an early election is going to happen it is highly unlikely it will be with Mrs May leading the blue team into ward-by-ward combat.
Getting the ball rolling on a leadership coup would realistically require some high-profile Cabinet resignations. This is the real question of the day. On one level it is entirely impossible to tell if today – ignore the media hype beforehand as this is a now well-established part of the show, talk of a showdown is followed by a climbdown. If you look at the big picture something does need to happen and as an advocate of a clean Brexit, I can’t see any way this happens without Tory Brexiteers growing a pair. So, for the sake of Brexit, I do hope today is the day that the Prime Minister finally runs out of road to kick the can down.