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Crisis-stricken Prime Minister Theresa May is set to make an unprecedented move tomorrow: appealing to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party to formulate policies for the government post-Brexit.
Weak and wobbly May is reportedly due to make a speech tomorrow where she will offer an ‘olive branch’ to Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, and other opposition MPs and parties currently sitting in government. This olive branch will be the opportunity to collaborate with the government and be involved in the policy-making process.
In reality, it would be Jeremy Corbyn and Labour offering a hand as Theresa May clings onto the cliff edge. After failing to win a majority in last month’s general election, she is in a precarious position and needs the support of opposition parties for her minority government to survive – especially as the Tory hawks are already circling her demanding a change in leadership.
In tomorrow’s speech, May will say:
“At this critical time in our history, we can either be timid or we can be bold.
We can play it safe or we can strike out with renewed courage and vigour, making the case for our ideas and values and challenging our opponents to contribute, not just criticise.
In everything we do, we will act with an unshakable sense of purpose to build the better, fairer Britain which we all want to see.”
However, Labour’s election co-ordinator and Shadow Cabinet Minister Andrew Gwynne seemed to not only reject the idea but mock it, claiming that it proved that Theresa May’s position as Prime Minister has become untenable, and that she is essentially on borrowed time:
“Theresa May has finally come clean and accepted the government has completely run out of ideas. As a result they’re having to beg for policy proposals from Labour.
This is further evidence that this government can no longer run the country.”
Interestingly, Theresa May’s deputy Damien Green also weighed up, saying that the idea that the Conservative Party would actually adopt Jeremy Corbyn’s policies was pie in the sky. Despite this, he said that the idea of cross-party collaboration was a good thing:
“Politicians of all parties are invited to contribute their reports, their ideas, that’s a grown up way of doing politics.
I think a lot of your listeners would think, actually, if politicians just said, ‘Why don’t we just do this about a particular national issue, rather than just sit in the trenches and shell each other? Then we might actually have better government.’ And that’s what the Government is talking about.”
That being said, Green also noted that it involved compromise on all sides of the debate as opposed to simply taking on the Labour Party’s manifesto policies in a new agenda. In particular, he voiced his opposition to Labour’s proposals on public sector pay and tuition fees, illustrating that this appeal from Theresa May is nothing but lip-service to Labour voters.
It’s not surprising that Theresa May is going down this route. Her popularity has plunged both nationally and within the Conservative Party after failing to win a majority against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Many Tory MPs are calling for her to resign within the next two years, so this appeal serves to give her some breathing room when she needs it most. Even after giving a £1bn bung to the far-right Democratic Unionist Party in order to stay in power, it is clear that Theresa May is becoming the feeblest Prime Minister that Britain has ever had the displeasure of electing, and her going cap in hand to Jeremy Corbyn and Labour only serves to emphasise this fact.
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