In the latest development of the seemingly never-ending Brexit saga, beleaguered British Prime Minister Theresa May promised to step down from office—but only once Parliament accepted her deal to leave the European Union, a caveat that generated frustration from the country’s fed-up population and opposition parties.
The announcement marks the beginning of the end of the May era, which began after her predecessor David Cameron resigned after the British people chose Brexit in a stunning vote on June 23, 2016.
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Per The Irish Times:
May told her fellow lawmakers in the Conservative Party of her decision in a closed-door meeting Wednesday, reported The Irish Independent.
Brexit is currently under a postponement negotiated with the EU that would see the country exit the continental federation on May 22 if Parliament accepts May’s deal or April 12 if it does not.
The political opposition was less kind to May, pointing out that a change of government under the circumstances laid out by May was akin to a threat.
“Theresa May’s pledge to Tory MPs to stand down if they vote for her deal shows once and for all that her chaotic Brexit negotiations have been about party management, not principles or the public interest,” said Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
“A change of government can’t be a Tory stitch-up,” Corbyn added, “the people must decide.”
“If Brexit ends up being forced through on the basis of a deal no one supports—indeed a deal so bad that the PM has to promise to resign to get it through—it will make an already bad project even worse,” said Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Reporting from The New York Times Wednesday afternoon indicated that May’s announcement left EU members and citizens more, not less, confused about Britain’s next moves in the Brexit process.
“If you compared Britain to a sphinx, the sphinx would be an open book by comparison,” said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
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Deepak Saxena, an Indian PhD student at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, wryly noted his own country’s past with Britain in a tweet about the Brexit crisis.
“I am an Indian and I can tell you that Brits take forever to leave,” said Saxena.
Reaction on social media focused on May’s management of the crisis and what many saw as the crocodile tears from those in her own party.
“Woman promises she will put away can of petrol after the house has burnt down,” said author Sathnam Sanghera.
”Do you think over on Tory twitter they’re doing Endgame ‘Avenge the fallen’ posters for Theresa May?” wondered journalist Stephen Ackroyd.
“If you wanted another reason to dislike uk politics watching turncoat tories big up @theresa_may on news shows will surely deliver,” radio host Matthew Wright tweeted.
Then again, some commentators pointed out, given the terms of May’s resignation and the U.K. Parliament’s attempts to Brexit thus far, there’s a possibility she’ll never leave.
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