After the no-confidence vote: May of steel?

Theresa May won the vote of no-confidence triggered by Tory MPs by 200 votes to 117. But the fate of her Brexit deal with the EU is still unclear. While some commentators fail to understand why she is defending her position so doggedly, others find this commendable.

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Deutsche Welle (RO) /

May and Merkel - sisters in spirit

The obstinacy of two European women is to blame for the dramatic turn the Brexit has taken, the Romanian service of German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle writes:

“Rather than postponing the solemnly promised parliamentary vote, it would have been more honest for Theresa May to acknowledge her limits, end her career, and do one last service to democracy. ... But despite all appearances rationality and modesty are not her strong points. Just as they are not those of the German chancellor. If she loved Europe the way she's always claims to, she would have had to give Britain a real chance to say farewell on friendly terms. ... It will be mostly the fault of these two women leaders if the Brexit that neither of them wanted becomes a cruel divorce.” (DE) /

Time for PM to choose which side she's on

Writing for journalist Björn Staschen is impressed with how tough May is proving to be:

“May can only get it wrong really - but she's doing that quite well. Twice I have already stood here and said: this is the beginning of the end for the prime minister. I was wrong: she is the only one who sticks to her plan. ... The Brexit issue can't be resolved through mediation. The two sides have dug their trenches too deep to be able to reach out a hand to each other. May must now bring things to a head. Either she sides with those who want a second referendum or she heads towards a hard Brexit with her eyes wide open. Between that there's only delaying, power struggles and haggling. So please: make your call now.”

De Telegraaf (NL) /

Lacking in imagination but tough as steel

De Telegraaf's London correspondent Joost van Mierlo examines May's personality:

“Her stoic calm is at the same time her weakness. May simply can't conceive that her chosen approach may be wrong. She completely lacks the flexibility a politician needs. This is her Achilles' heel, but perhaps also her salvation. Her steadfastness is based on a strong sense of duty and a lack of imagination. She is responsible for the country's welfare and she can't imagine anybody else in that position. This gives her the energy to carry on despite all the humiliations. She seems fragile but she has a backbone of steel.”

Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Impending disaster averted

Jyllands-Posten takes its hat off to Theresa May:

“The support she received on Wednesday evening was good, but not overwhelming. She has announced that she won't run again in the next elections. But it's impressive that she continues to carry the burden. It won't be easy. She can't expect more than a few symbolic concessions from the EU. Perhaps a few friendly words in an addendum to the Brexit text, but that's it. ... But an immediate disaster has been averted. All those who care at all about the UK should welcome this.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Hardliners out of touch with reality

The hardliners among the Tories have manoeuvred themselves into a dead end, El Periódico de Catalunya finds:

“By challenging the prime minister the initiators of the no-confidence vote have exposed the chaotic state of affairs in which the Tories find themselves, a weak and divided party. ... This section of the party won't be satisfied with yesterday's result or with the prime minister's last-minute announcement before the vote that she won't run in the next elections. What the ultra-Conservatives don't seem to understand is that the Brexit agreement isn't May's deal, it's the government's deal. And the question of the border with Ireland, which is so controversial for the radical anti-Europeans, will remain unresolved.”

The Guardian (GB) /

How dumb can you be?

Columnist Polly Toynbee agrees in The Guardian that May has emerged stronger from the vote:

“Compared with her enemies, she's a strategic genius. Blinded by fury, the intemperates couldn't restrain their urge to post those 48 letters without waiting until they had the votes to bring her down. What idiots! ... Jacob Rees‑Mogg and Boris Johnson are brought low, so let's see less of them on our screens now. Look how their stupidity has revived the moribund May, infusing her with new credibility. ... But for now, not only May but her Brexit plan gets a new lease of life.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

Less chance of a softer Brexit

The relatively soft version of the Brexit in the negotiated deal may now be completely off the agenda, reflects columnist Gerardo Morina in Corriere del Ticino:

“The Brexit capital remains open. Even if May secures certain improvements to the current terms in Brussels, a renegotiation of Brexit has been ruled out. This leaves little room for manoeuvre while the 'no deal' scenario hasn't been excluded. ... A nightmare for London and a tragic result for those who, like May herself, wanted a 'soft' solution. ... A solution that has always been rejected by the more intransigent elements in her party.”