On Thursday 10 January 1957, Sir Anthony Eden resigned as Prime Minister. Backed-up by four doctors, he said;
“his health will no longer enable him to sustain the heavy burdens inseparable from the office of Prime Minister.”
Of course, the real reason was that Eden’s authority had been terminally wounded by the Suez Crisis. It was described as a ‘national humiliation’, which is exactly how the British public feel about Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations.
This weekend has been dominated by speculation about possible ‘Cabinet coups’, widespread speculation that Mrs May will be forced to step-down, etc, etc. In that context, a report focusing on the Prime Ministers health should be viewed as opening a potential escape hatch for her to resign in way that is on the surface, face-saving.
Commons officials concerned about Theresa May’s health have reportedly drawn up contingency plans to whisk her out of the Commons if she collapses. The Prime Minister has faced a punishing routine of meetings and travel both here and to Europe as she battled to get a Brexit deal across the line. She has also put in a large number of hours in the Commons trying to win MPs over to backing her deal.
Concerns about the health of the 62-year-old Prime Minister, who has type 1 diabetes, have led officials to develop a ‘protocol’ in case she becomes ill at the Dispatch Box.
Is this preparation for her resignation? Only time will tell but it has happened before…..