Theresa May in trouble on multiple fronts

May 7, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS , UK

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By

Tom Arms

 

 

British political pundits are again doubting that Prime Minister Theresa May can stay in 10 Downing Street until the end of the year.

 

Brexit and Windrush are the reasons for the renewed scepticism.

 

Windrush refers to the ship that in 1948 transported West Indian immigrants to the UK. They and other Commonwealth citizens who made their way to British shores between that year and 1971 are called the Windrush generation.

 

In 1962 and 1968 the government started placing restrictions on the flow of Commonwealth citizens to the UK. Then in 1971, in preparation for membership of the Common Market, they stopped it but granted indefinite leave to remain to all those Commonwealth citizens who had established residency in the UK between 1948 and 1971.

 

The problem is that the Windrush Generation came to Britain during a more open and relaxed atmosphere than existed after 1971. It was certainly a more relaxed and tolerant atmosphere than has existed in the 21st century. There was little or no paperwork required for their entry to the UK. In fact, the Home Office destroyed the landing cards of many of the immigrants. The result was that when the tide turned against them, many of the Windrush Generation had no proof that they had entered the country legally.

 

Then came the election of David Cameron’s government in 2010. He had pledged to reduce immigration figures to the tens of thousands, and appointed no-nonsense Theresa May to the Home Office to fulfil his pledge.

 

Mrs May set about the job with a vengeance. Windrush immigrants were deported; lost their jobs; were refused entry when they returned from visits abroad and were denied treatment by the National Health Service.

 

When Mrs May became Prime Minister she appointed Amber Rudd to continue her policies. She did and lost her job for doing so. Mrs May, who is the author of the policies, now refers to the same policies as “scandalous”.

 

Smelling vulnerability, the Labour Opposition tabled a motion calling for the publication of all internal Home Office documents relating to the Windrush generation during the tenure of Mrs May and Ms Rudd. Mrs May has responded by calling a three-line whip to defeat the motion. This means that any Tory who votes for releasing the documents faces expulsion from the party.

 

What does Mrs May have to hide? And can she keep it hidden?

 

Then there is the continuing dog’s dinner headache of Brexit. The latest twist has raised the possibility of a cabinet revolt over the customs union. Mrs May has promised that a post-Brexit Britain will not be part of a customs union because to not do so would prevent Britain from negotiating international trade agreements needed to replace European markets.

 

Now she is talking about a “customs partnership” with the EU, which is, according to the Brexiteers, no more than the customs union by another name. The Brexiteering Cabinet triumvirate of Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis are threatening to resign unless Mrs May backpedals quickly. This would almost certainly cause the government to collapse.  She now appears to be doing just that, demonstrating that the tail is definitely wagging the Tory dog.

 

Next on the disaster list involves the House of Lords and Brexit. The peers voted to demand a parliamentary vote on the final deal negotiated between the government and the EU with the option of sending the government back to the negotiating table. This is very different from the take it or leave it vote offered by Mrs May. On top of that, on Wednesday last week, the Lords voted to reject a hard border between Northern Ireland and Eire.

 

The Lords has the power to advise and delay. It cannot block legislation. But the fear for the government is that their strong opposition to Brexit will embolden pro-EU Remainers to stand up to the Brexiteers and ultimately lead to the demise of the upper chamber. Leading backbench Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, said: “The Lords are playing with fire. If they are not careful they will burn their house down.”

 

All the above combined is creating a tsunami of woe and worry which could easily sweep Mrs May out of office a lot sooner than she planned.

 

 

 

 

Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, www.fensinformation.com) which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and emailtom.arms@lookaheadnews.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Sarah Ito May 07, at 17:58

    Most interesting article. I do think there were blinders worn when talk began of a possible "Brexit." So many did not think it would happen, just as so many did not think it possible for Trump to defeat Mrs. Clinton. The people said one thing but voted another. I wonder what Great Britain will look like politically after the departure of Mrs. May.

    Reply

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