Home/Daniel Larison/The Tories Are in a Bind with May

The Tories Are in a Bind with May

Katy Balls comments on Theresa May’s continuing difficulties:

The Queen’s Speech – in which the government sets out its legislative programme – has been delayed indefinitely. Originally due to take place next week, it’s now on hold until the Conservatives manage to come to a satisfactory ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the DUP.

This is an un-precedented move – and not a good sign.

The inability to deliver on something so basic and important is evidence that May shouldn’t have tried to stay in place after the election result. Cobbling together a desperate deal with the DUP never looked good, and taking extra time to put it together looks worse. In the meantime, it opens her up to the same charges of “chaos” that she leveled against a possible Labour-led government, and gives everyone another reason to question her competence and authority.

In a separate post, she also points to a new YouGov survey that finds that May and Corbyn are now tied on the question of who should be prime minister:

The reason May should be able to find some solace in this is that it confirms the Tories’ worst fears: Labour could win power in a second election. The main reason May is currently in No 10 and not at the job centre is that Conservatives are fearful of another election. With momentum with Labour, many in the party think their party would fare even worse if there was to be an election in the Autumn. A Tory leadership challenge would make the prospect of a second poll much more likely.

Prior to the start of the campaign, May had a 39-point lead on the same question, and between her poor showing and Corbyn’s success with voters she has managed to reduce it to nothing. Since YouGov’s model is the one that was most accurate during the election, we should take their findings on this seriously. Perversely, her own weakness protects her from immediate removal by her party, which is a remarkable and embarrassing position for the supposedly “strong and stable” leader to be in. For the moment, May’s rivals aren’t openly coming after her yet, but it’s not clear how long that can last. This comment sums things up fairly well:

“Something very Weekend at Bernie’s about this pretence that the PM is still viable,” tweeted prominent British columnist Janan Ganesh on Sunday.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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