Theresa May humiliation: Alastair Campbell’s brutal assessment of former Tory PM
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Mrs May is being urged to lead a Conservative rebellion against a move by the Prime Minister to out-muscle parts of the withdrawal agreement he signed with the EU earlier this year. It comes as Mr Johnson faces pressure from all wings of his party over the decision to amend the withdrawal agreement – a move that Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted “breaks international law in a specific and limited way”. Mrs May, the former Prime Minister, has voiced concern that should Mr Johnson continue down his current path, Britain’s reputation on the world stage could be seriously damaged.
The row has set the scene for several following showdowns as former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has said he will vote against the Government’s attempts to override the agreement, while Sir Jonathan Jones last week quit over the debacle.
David Gauke, the Conservative former Justice Secretary, last week championed Mrs May as the person who “should lead the Commons struggle against her successor’s plan to break international law”.
However the former Prime Ministers’ ever-changing Brexit stance has over the years been picked apart.
In 2016, she expressed deep concern over the UK’s being excluded from the single market, only to claim nine months later that in leaving “we would be free to change the basis of Britain’s economic model”.
Among her critics is the Labour Party’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, who several times questioned the legitimacy of Mrs May’s leadership and Brexit stance.
This was true of his 2016 Oxford Union where he revealed his concern at most of the audience only having had four Prime Ministers in their lifetime.
He said: “You have known no other Prime Minister in your life, apart from Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and now the deeply unelected Theresa May.”
This was met with scores of laughter from the audience.
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He continued: “It’s going to be a big point, not today, but in the coming years that has got to become a big point – grammar schools my arse,” in reference to her now failed proposal to bring back grammar schools.
Later on, Mr Campbell fired another shot at the former Prime Minister, this time for her stance and lack of campaigning during the Brexit vote.
He said: “Jeremy Corbyn faced the leadership challenge because a lot of people faced he hadn’t campaigned terribly well during the referendum – but at least he did campaign.
“Theresa May did absolutely nothing and she’s ended up as Prime Minister without a single person casting a vote for her.
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“Why? Because the Tory party is ruthless and dedicated to power – and that’s not a bad thing.”
After failing to deliver Brexit, Mrs May resigned as leader in June 2019.
In an emotional statement, she said she had done her best to deliver Brexit and it was a matter of “deep regret” that she had been unable to do so.
More recently, she has been joined by a succession of senior Tories in condemning Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement plan.
Her opposition came during a speech in the Commons where she said ministers were trying to alter an agreement which the Government had signed up to and Parliament had passed into UK law.
She asked: “Given that, how can the Government reassure future international partners that the UK can be trusted to abide by the legal obligations of the agreements it signs?”
Time is running out for the UK and EU to sign a trade deal.
Mr Johnson has set a mid-October deadline for such an agreement to be met.
The UK and EU will trade on WTO terms if a deal is not reached.
The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, was pictured late last week departing London after a round of talks resulted in another deadlock.
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