May Must Resign

“Football is a results business”. We hear this line a lot- it is apparently the reason why there exists a culture of sacking in English football. It is hard to dispute this. And so is politics. And with this disastrous result- losing dozens of seats in England with Scotland softening the blow considerably- there can only be one conclusion: Theresa May has to fall on her sword. The ramifications of this are huge- she picked a supposedly politically convenient time for the election, for which nobody was prepared. It was designed to cash in on a Labour Party in utter despair- with a Parliamentary Party still in disquiet with its membership. Jeremy Corbyn was either unknown or unliked by most voters; their program understood to be so radical it was the highest tax raising program in a peacetime period post-War. It is quite obvious- the Conservative campaign was an unmitigated disaster, for they lost seats despite projections of a massive majority. It was made about May v Corbyn- the word “Conservative” was hardly cited in the national campaign; it was Theresa May “and my local candidates”, the problem being that if she performed poorly, she suffers along with her candidates. It was supposed to be the great election to give Mrs May the “mandate” to negotiate Brexit, but instead it became about austerity, with the Tories put up a feeble campaign to defend the need for fiscal prudence. It was a field David Cameron excelled in- “we need a strong economy to fund our NHS”. Theresa May couldn’t even rebut the claims that police number cuts somehow allowed the terrorist attacks to happen.

It is easy to imagine the faces of Mr Juncker and co when the exit poll came out- a wry smile and a cheeky grin, because they know the person who they face in this tricky and complex negotiation has been severely damaged. The “strong and stable” line is now miserable.

Many people voted Theresa May because they wanted to just get on with Brexit. She was correctly viewed to respect the will of the people- many not natural Tories. They backed her in this gamble. But now the gamble has failed? Now the gamble has meant great MPs like David Burrowes and Byron Davies now find themselves out of work? My guess is that there is now a lot of anger at Mrs May. They backed her in this election. Did they want the election? Probably not, but they were willing to humour her. Now? Absolutely not.

Going forward is precarious- Theresa May is damaged goods. She now relies on someone else- not a situation that existed six weeks ago. Six weeks ago, yes the whips had to be on their game. Now, a strong whips team is not enough- they rely on the Democratic Unionist Party, but even those 10 extra MPs are not enough to stave off a Tory rebellion.

Theresa May isn’t going to win an election later this year should it happen. The voters will correctly punish her for taking them for fools again. She then has to honestly ask herself- can she govern as a minority government for five years during the most complex constitutional task this country has faced in decades?

If she answers this honestly, she will say she cannot. May needs to fall on her sword and the Tories need to avoid a bloody leadership campaign. The Conservative MPs somehow need to back one candidate and avoid the carnage- it must be quick, Europe is waiting to have its date with us, and Theresa May needs to fall on her sword. She has been a competent Prime Minister until this daft gamble, shielded by even dafter advisers. But politics is a results business, and its time for her to give up the keys to Number 10.

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