Tory leadership: Yet another twist as Andrea Leadsom exits the race

Of critical concern to Ireland is what that means for the UK’s negotiating position on the EU?

 

Resigning seems to be catching these days. Britain is afflicted by a veritable epidemic of throwing in the towel. Always for the best and most noble reasons, of course, and nothing to do (ha!) with the personal humiliation of losing or of the prospect of losing. Or deserting a sinking ship.

A long contest would be bad for the party, the ship needs a new captain, I did my best but it was “not meant to be”, my job is done .... but there was more than one who jumped before they were pushed.

Andrea Leadsom, joins David Cameron, Jonathan Hill (the UK’s EU commissioner), Boris Johnson, Chris Evans, Nigel Farage, and Roy Hodgson, to name but the most celebrated of the recent crop of those who have fallen on their sword.

To be fair to her, it would appear that her decision was perhaps less to do with the prospect of losing and more with her horrified, belated, realisation of what treatment her inexperienced and distinctly gauche candidacy was about to get in the media. But, as Matthew D’Ancona of the Guardian put it, “As they say in America: welcome to the NFL.”

And so Home Secretary Theresa May, a scarcely visible Remain campaigner, will become prime minister on the basis of a mandate from 60 per cent of Tory MPs. Of critical concern to us is what that means for the UK’s negotiating position on the EU ? She has said little that helps beyond a definite commitment to leave – “Brexit means Brexit” – and a promise not to activate the two-year timeframe set out in Article 50 before the end of the year.

May has said that “ it must be a priority to allow British companies to trade with the single market in goods and services – but also to regain more control of the numbers of people who come here from Europe.”

A case of having your Brexit cake and eating it. This is going to be a long negotiation.

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