"Compromise is not a dirty word" said an unusually emotional Theresa May when she gave her notice of resignation speech outside Number 10 this morning. That may have been her hidden underlying mantra in her Brexit negotiations with the EU and in her management of the process in Westminster and the House of Commons, but her resignation today shows that sticking to her initial red lines and to her fixed negotiating position was not going to achieve the consensus she needed or wanted. For her "Brexit has not meant Brexit".
Theresa May will resign as Leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June after the D Day celebrations and the Trump State visit. The election of her successor as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and therefore our new Prime Minister will commence immediately thereafter. She will remain as Prime Minister until her successor is appointed. The Tories hope to have this all done and dusted by the Summer Recess at Westminster.
The months and weeks of uncertainty as to Theresa May's position are over but it remains to be seen whether a different Prime Minister will in fact be able to sort the political conundrum that is Brexit. The divisions in the Conservative Party remain. The " Withdrawal Deal" remains in place as negotiated with the EU and with the Irish backstop provision intact. Labour shows no sign of supporting the current agreement but we can expect Mr Corbyn to issue loud calls for another election. His position will be that the Prime Minister in such an important matter must have a mandate from the country as opposed to the Conservative Party and the only way to achieve that is by a general election.
The Conservative Party will conduct their internal process and the money at present is on a hard Brexiteer being appointed and Boris Johnston in particular. However that seems not to be a certainty with a very large field of candidates. Appointment of a hard Brexiteer could lead to a possible no deal Brexit on 31 October with all the ongoing uncertainty that would cause. That is not the overall will of the House of Commons but how the different positions in Westminster will seek to prevent a no deal Brexit remains to be seen. This appointment as Conservative leader is also likely to have an important impact on devolved relations as well.
However we are also awaiting the outcome of the European Elections on Sunday evening or Monday morning. It seems likely this will bring bad news for the Conservative and Labour parties. It may also result in a change of the makeup of the European Parliament and different negotiators appointed by the EU. Will that make a change in the EU negotiating position towards the Brexit? Time will tell.
This is not going to be a quiet summer for Brexit and politics. Clarity is not likely to appear quickly. The only thing I have been hoarding in my Brexit box is coffee. Time to go shopping I think, just in case….