Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations with the European Union are going very, very wrong, and there is now speculation that the UK could be heading for a snap election — cue eyerolls and yawns nationwide.
Both the ruling Conservatives and opposition Labour party appear to be considering the possibility of a snap election as early as November. This is in light of May’s disastrous meeting with her EU counterparts in Salzburg last week – at which they appeared to throw her and her Brexit proposals under the bus.
With the humiliating rejection of her Chequers plan, the prime minister is now looking vulnerable abroad as well as at home.
The Sunday Times reported that two senior aides within May’s Downing Street team had responded to her “summit humiliation” last week by suggesting that an early general election in November could help save both her leadership and her job.
According to the newspaper, one unnamed senior aide said to another Tory strategist: “What are you doing in November? Because I think we are going to need an election.” For its part, Downing Street has denied the reports as “categorically untrue”.
Labour certainly seems to be preparing for another possible vote, although whether it’s a snap election or a second Brexit referendum is the big question.
As the party holds its annual conference in Liverpool, the spotlight is on what leader Jeremy Corbyn – who is known for his ambivalence toward the EU – thinks.
Corbyn was pressed on the issue of another referendum by the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday. The Labour leader said that he would back party members if they wanted another EU vote – although he added that he’d prefer to have a general election instead.
Senior Labour party member Emily Thornberry also suggested recently that she was confident that a general election would happen in the autumn or in spring 2019.
UK voters are likely to be spluttering into their cups of tea at the prospect of another vote on either Brexit or another general election so soon after 2017’s snap vote.
As we all know, the British public punished the Tories for what it perceived to be an arrogant move by May in calling last year’s election, and it cost the Conservatives their majority in parliament.
That election showed that UK voters are more than ready and willing to deliver a bloody nose to the political establishment given half the chance – especially when it is a suspected political ploy or power grab.
There’s every likelihood that they’d do so again if another snap election is called.