After the election, May’s mandate for a hard Brexit is in question and Tory Remainers are flexing their muscles. What direction will the party take?
On Monday morning, almost exactly a year to the day since the UK voted to leave the European Union, formal divorce negotiations will begin in Brussels. Yet at no point since the referendum has the British government seemed less prepared and less sure about what Brexit should actually entail. During the general election, Theresa May taunted Jeremy Corbyn, saying he would be “alone and naked” in Brussels if he won because he would have no plan. That comment has backfired spectacularly on her – as has so much else. In some quarters, including sections of the Tory party, there were growing doubts this weekend about whether Brexit – and certainly the “hard” version that Theresa May seemed intent on pursuing – would happen at all.
At 10am David Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the EU, will sit down with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, but the hardline Eurosceptic minister will be in a weaker position than at any time in the 11 months since he took the job. An election that May called to give herself a strong personal mandate for taking the UK out of the single market and customs union, as well as rejecting any future role for the European court of justice, failed to deliver her one.