British Prime Minister Theresa May lost a parliamentary vote on her Brexit plan by a humiliating margin, before going on to survive a no-confidence motion in her government by just over a dozen votes.
She’s hanging on.
And, once again, we’re stunned at the way she continues to stand firm and refuses to backdown from her position in the face of what seems to be an impossible and, for a large majority of the population, unwanted task: delivering on Brexit
Presenting another trademark, short and sharp press conference outside number 10 Downing Street this morning Australia time, she described the past 24 hours as “unsettling” but still declared that, “I believe it is my duty to deliver on their (the British people’s) instruction to leave the European Union and I intend to do so.”
May doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, at least not by choice. Is it resilience? Self-belief? Sheer determination to complete what she started?
Political commentators have labelled it everything from absolute tenacity, to possessing a “type of fortitude that borders on the superhuman” with a “capacity for thankless slog”. They’ve said it’s her “bloody-mindedness” and, even (yes, really), the fact she “doesn’t have children” or a social life and isn’t going to go on from this to make a lot of money in different fields.
We’re relatively certain May could get another job, and make plenty of money in the process, despite her previous mistakes (like calling a general election in 2017 to secure a mandate, only to end up weaker than ever). But in the meantime, May is determined to do everything possible to secure Brexit — despite few seeing a path forward on how that can happen.
The problem is that time is running out on striking a deal that a huge portion of the country do not want to see happen — and that another significant portion think does not go far enough in its current iteration. The Brexit deadline is March 29 2019.
Could anyone win or get anywhere from this position? Many would have simply walked away, a long time ago.
And even for those who would stay, could they remain as calm? Retain the same level of mental and physical stamina to keep going at it?
May told reporters today that all MPs must work together and “put self-interest aside”. From tomorrow, she said (speaking very late on Wednesday evening, London time), meetings will be occurring between senior government representatives, and the door remains open for the Labour Party to participate.
“It will not be an easy task,” she said. But Theresa May will continue at it.