BrexitPoliticsThe ConservativesTheresa May

When you’ve wrestled the crocodile onto the bank, finish it off. Don’t let it slip back into the water

Remember I said that May would not be going unless she was dragged kicking and screaming out of No. 10? Remember that she said that if she won a confidence vote by even one vote she’d stay?

David Davis may have resigned, but he’s been replaced straight away, and May and her Remain cronies will carry on as if nothing has happened.

So if the Brexiteers want to get rid of May, this is how they have to play the game. There needs to be a steady drip of ‘blows’ to May today, and maybe in the next few days. Her authority needs to be increasingly undermined in the eyes of both the public and the party, until it becomes impossible for her to carry on. Boris Johnson needs to resign soon. Michael Gove may be unwilling, seeing as (a) he has blood on his hands from Boris; and (b) he’s been defending May’s plan, but if he wants to be leader he’ll want May gone, so he’ll have to be brought in at some stage — getting him to play his part may be crucial. Dominic Raab also has to use his newly-won position to bring pressure on May, otherwise he’s just undermined his own side.

Meanwhile May and her team will not be sitting back and taking it, they’ll be playing hardball too, so it’s a fight to the death.

But what worries me is that Tories usually only fight to the death to get rid of Thatcherites, not establishment types.

But surely even Tory MPs can see now that they can’t win an election with a wet Remainer like May in charge?

Update: “When you’ve wrestled the crocodile onto the bank, finish it off. Don’t let it slip back into the water”: this saying should be tattooed onto the head of every Tory MP. Especially in this case, where the failure of a confidence vote means that May will be immune from any more challenges for a year. The rebels will have to make sure it either doesn’t come to a confidence vote, or that they’ll definitely win it if it does.

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