By Anne RinaudoWednesday 12 Dec 2018Open House InterviewsFinance and BusinessReading Time: 2 minutes
Listen: Simon Tormey in conversation with Stephen O’Doherty.
UK Prime Minister, Theresa May has surprised many with her calm, clear and statesman like rhetoric on the exit of the UK from the European Union – the divisive ‘Brexit’.
She has presented the parliament with a Brexit deal but political scientist and expert on European politics, Professor Simon Tormey, from the University of Sydney, says despite doing alright so far there are many hurdles to clear yet.
“What we learn now is that five of her front bench, her closest cabinet colleagues, have decided to get their heads together to come up with an alternative to her withdrawal agreement. So this is pretty much a direct challenge to her authority. We’ve also got news of at least 23 letters that have gone in to the chair of the 1922 Committee which in turn decides if there is to be a vote of no confidence.” he explained on Open House.
“So it seems to me that yes, Theresa May has surprised us last week with her statesman like rhetoric. It is a moment of clarity for herself. She has clearly decided the withdrawal agreement that she’s got is the best thing on offer. It’s important for the British public to know that. I don’t think she’s kidding them. She’s not pulling a leg or anything like that. She believes it.” says Professor Tormey.
Tormey agrees she has done her best with something that is impossibly complicated but that she should have been direct with the public sooner.
“She might have said that two years ago. But she didn’t do that. Eighteen months ago, she gave a famous speech at Lancaster House, where she set out what was the basis of the folly that we now find ourselves in. In other words, that we were going to have a ‘hard Brexit’ but also maintain all the advantages and frictionless trade, unicorns and magical thinking.”
“So if she had actually sat down in the first place and said ‘really there isn’t this comfortable sort of compromise negotiated middle – then we wouldn’t have this spectacle we have had frankly, for the past year and a half.”
“Which is someone who is really not keen to agree with the European Union that it works in a particular way, and Britain had better live inside the European Union or leave it. That is really what was on offer at the beginning of this process.”
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