How much longer can May remain in office?

The EU chief Brexit negotiator Barnier has given the British government two weeks to clarify its position on the Brexit divorce bill after yet another round of talks ended without a breakthrough. Only by reshuffling her cabinet can May keep her job, some commentators believe. For others the chaos in the Tory Party is just the same kind of turbulent phase governments in other European countries are also experiencing.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

Grim prospects for prime minister

Things are getting really tight for the government under May, La Vanguardia observes:

“Several factors in recent days have further weakened Theresa May to the point of creating the impression of a government in chaos. Two relevant ministers resigned, another [Foreign Minister Boris Johnson] committed a major faux pas but no one dares replace him. And the negotiations on the Brexit - which has been fixed for 29 March 2019 - are blocked by a decision from Brussels: either London commits to a sum and a deadline for compensating the EU or the UK won't get the trade agreement it wants. Grim prospects for May.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Reshuffle is May's last chance

Only a major cabinet shake-up can save the prime minister now, writes the Daily Telegraph:

“It is not just that a big reshuffle (which senior backbenchers and party grandees have urged her to have ever since the summer recess) would allow her to remove the under-performers, inadequates and downright failures, and start afresh: it would also bring matters to a head in her party. Either her MPs would have to get behind her new team, or they would have to decide to get rid of her. Either way, the air would be cleared. ... It would be her last throw of the dice, but she may not realise how little she has left to lose.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Turbulent times no cause for concern

British politics is in a far better state than many want to admit, columnist David Goodhart writes in the Financial Times:

“The basic health of the political system is not in doubt. Consider how the flexibility of the UK's system of qualified parliamentary sovereignty allowed it to absorb and deflect the independence surge in Scotland, and compare that with the conflict in Catalonia. ... As for the Tory party, it may be in a fractious state, but governments often go through turbulent periods exacerbated by a disaster-hunting media. And look around Europe, where many other governments are in a permanent state of low-level crisis.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Resignation would solve a few problems

Instead of firing more ministers May herself should step down, the Handelsblatt's UK correspondent Carsten Volkery writes:

“Guiding Britain through the Brexit negotiations will require resolute - and charismatic - leadership. As a farewell gift May could agree to pay Britain's EU exit bill. Then her successor could enter the talks with the Europeans about a new trade agreement unencumbered. May's departure wouldn't solve all the problems. The Brexit negotiations would remain tricky and the various Tory camps would still be at loggerheads. But a new Tory leader would at least have a fair chance of winning a new election.”

New Statesman (GB) /

Fear of Corbyn keeping PM in office

The Tories won't turn their back on their struggling prime minister yet, the New Statesman believes:

“Does that mean that November might be the end of May? Well, one of the things that everyone has forgotten is that the PM still has one major asset: his name is Jeremy Corbyn. The fear of a Corbyn-led government among Tory MPs is large enough that she has the power to conduct wider changes than she thinks, and the widespread feeling that an early election means a Labour victory means that no one in the Tory party is going to bring the house down.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

May's weakness blocking Brexit talks

The Brexit negotiations keep faltering among other things because the EU is aware of the weakness of Theresa May and her team, Hospodářské noviny concludes:

“Both sides are now preparing for the 'no deal' version in which the negotiations fail. If Prime Minister May resigns now, chaos will undoubtedly ensue. The Conservatives would have to look for a new leader to take over as prime minister - the very same operation that catapulted May to power after David Cameron resigned. All this would considerably delay the Brexit negotiations. And in the event of fresh elections Labour leader Corbyn could rise to power. For a long time he remained silent on Brexit but he now leans towards the UK staying in the single market.”