May's appeal to the opposition

British PM Theresa May has called on the opposition Labour Party to help her government implement the UK's exit from the EU. Commentators criticise May's speech and ask how serious her offer of cooperation really was.

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Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Nothing but a tactical move

May's offer to collaborate with Labour could be her last chance to stay in power, Deutschlandfunk believes:

“May realised too late that she needs allies. With countless harsh speeches in the past she has broken a lot of china. She wanted to cosy up to the Brexit hardliners who hoisted May, a former Bremainer, up on their banner. But she has become isolated within her own party. ... The prime minister's days have been numbered since the election, many have already written her off. If she's really serious with her gesture of cooperation then perhaps she will be able to stay in office. But in view of all that preceded it her offer is probably just a tactical move - and sadly nothing more.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

May's relaunch a fiasco

For the Irish Times, however, May's attempt to reach out to the Labour Party was counterproductive:

“What credit she might gain for striking a conciliatory note will be outweighed by annoyance at the overture within her own party. Her audience would be forgiven for wondering whether the Conservatives want other people's ideas because they don't have good ones of their own. The most problematic aspect of May's speech, however, was her continuing pretence that Brexit can somehow make the UK better. Instead of levelling with the electorate about the pain that lies ahead, perhaps even arguing that that pain will somehow be worth it in the long run, May persists with the illusion that the British people can 'seize the opportunities ahead' and 'fulfil the promise of Brexit together'. By doing so she helps ensure that, when it comes, even a soft Brexit will hit her people hard.”

De Standaard (BE) /

A struggling prime minister

The EU Parliament has threatened to block a Brexit deal if the UK doesn't guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the country. This puts the prime minister under even more pressure, De Standaard concludes:

“The letter comes at a most inconvenient time for May. She has an important Brexit week ahead in her own country. On Thursday she is due to present the repeal bill in the House of Commons. The proposed law marks the start of the difficult process in which London is to convert all European laws into British law. For that, May will need broad support in parliament. And she doesn't have it right now. Which is why she is reaching out to the opposition. … But for those who want a hard Brexit such a collaboration is unacceptable. … Thus the prime minister's position is growing weaker with each day that passes.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

May begging Labour for help

Theresa May's request for support on Brexit highlights the weakness of her position, De Volkskrant comments:

“By seeking a coalition of national unity - the last such coalition was during World War II - May has shown an entirely new face. Before the election she had talked menacingly of saboteurs trying to prevent the Brexit. ... May's offer won't strengthen her position ... Behind the scenes there is talk of a kamikaze act by hard-core Brexiteers. ... The latter are allegedly pushing for new elections in the hope that a Corbyn government wouldn't last for long and would lead to a right-wing counter-revolution, as happened in the 1970s.”

The Independent (GB) /

A boil on the backside of Europe

A year after May took office the Independent lambastes her performance so far:

“In that short span, she's secured for herself the title of worst PM of the 21st century. ... The decision she made at the G20 speaks volumes. As other leading nations were preparing to tackle President Donald Trump over his decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, May decided that the greatest threat facing humanity ... was 'not a priority'. After all her talk of intergenerational fairness, she cast the future of the nation's children on to the fires of political expediency in an attempt to cosy up to the brute in the White House. Britain under May is, it seems, destined to become an angry polluting boil on the backside of Europe.”