Brexit deal: May takes a last stab

Third time lucky? The British House of Commons will vote once again on May's Brexit deal on Friday afternoon. The House speaker has approved a third vote on the grounds that the new draft contains sufficient change because it leaves out any mention of future relations with the EU. In a bid to avoid her deal being rejected a third time Prime Minister May offered to resign if it passes. But it's by no means certain that this strategy will pay off, commentators point out.

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Die Presse (AT) /

A daring stunt

In the end May could emerge as the hero of the Brexit drama, Die Presse believes:

“Theresa May tried to square the circle, or to quote the Times columnist Hugo Rifkind, she tried to deliver a cheese submarine because she promised to deliver a cheese submarine. May has created something as similar to a submarine made of cheese as possible - and now she must explain to the British that they won't get anything better. If she manages to pull this off with her latest stunt she'll go down in history as a negotiator with nerves of steel who moreover sacrificed herself for her convictions. If she fails, she'll go down as a clown. The line she is balancing on is thin, very thin, and we should be aware of this before we burst into collective, mocking laughter. ”

Der Bund (CH) /

Resignation offer was a mistake

Der Bund wonders how May thinks she'll still be able to get her deal through parliament:

“She wasn't even able to impress a group of unswerving Tory hardliners who call themselves 'the Spartans' with her offer to resign. And the Northern Irish Unionists weren't willing to back her either yesterday. But at least they're still 'in talks' with the government. However, the Labour people who were contemplating giving in before her offer have suddenly started imagining Boris Johnson as the future prime minister. May's promise to resign, her theatrical 'self-sacrifice', could prove to be not just futile but actually counterproductive”

Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

The hour of the scavengers

Britain's leaders are focussed solely on their own interests in the Brexit process and are disregarding those of the country as a whole, Helsingin Sanomat comments:

“On Tuesday May promised to resign if her withdrawal deal is accepted. ... When the Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party heard that, some of them agreed to support May's deal. ... Their expectation is that agreeing to the deal and May's resignation will give them the chance to take over as Britain's leaders. One of these scavengers was Boris Johnson, who had previously taken the view that a hard Brexit would best suit his own interests. The MPs, in turn, refused to take the country out its impasse because they were afraid that a responsible decision would endanger their political careers.”

Público (PT) /

Corbyn is the real loser

May's tactic is above all damaging for opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, Público stresses:

“Contrary to all the prognoses, in the indicative votes May managed to take centre stage. ... Now she has played her last trump card - and has good chances of winning. ... The ambivalence Corbyn has shown so far on Brexit has turned out to be a trap. May's strategy has all it may take to bring Corbyn down. The division within the Labour party was already obvious. Corbyn's absence from the anti-Brexit demonstration was another indication of his lack of clarity and the price Labour may pay for this. An opposition leader who had campaigned for Europe from the start would have had to have a different discourse and energy.”

Corriere del Ticino (CH) /

No strategy behind this sacrifice

Theresa May is sacrificing herself but what comes next no one knows, columnist Gerardo Morino comments in Corriere del Ticino:

“To dispel fears that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in a disorderly manner the prime minister is putting all her eggs in one basket and offering herself up at the Brexit altar. ... Some appreciate this sacrifice on behalf of the nation, while others, like Labour, see the gesture simply as a reaction to Tory party dynamics. For those who are realistic, on the other hand, this is more a tactically than strategically clever move. Concerns about the present rather than about the immediate future are prevailing, in which May's resignation could prove to be merely a temporary panacea but not the solution to all the problems.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Worst may be yet to come

After Theresa May's departure the Tory Party and the government could well be led by a far more radical Eurosceptic, The Guardian fears:

“By occupying the space, however vacuously, she kept out the barbarian hordes of Brexiteers barging one another out of the way to seize her throne. Now she has surrendered that one useful role, leaving the country to the untender mercies of those competing in Europhobia for the votes of some 120,000 dwindling Tory party members. ... Parliament will be as gridlocked as ever, the combat deadlier with an avowed Brextremist at the helm.”

El Mundo (ES) /

May needs Brussels' help

El Mundo warns that May's willingness to resign doesn't merit too much optimism:

“There have been so many false exits from the Brexit labyrinth that we can no longer risk saying whether at last we have the solution to the problem or not. But this is a crucial turning point. ... May now needs Brussels to agree to some kind of modification - even if it's purely cosmetic - to be able to put her plan to Westminster once more. This is something the European Council agreed to do last week. And she must also convince the decisive DUP MPs from Northern Ireland, although that seems likely to be complicate. Brexit isn't over yet.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Brexit saga goes on and on and ...

Theresa May's humiliation is never-ending, Rzeczpospolita sighs:

“For a moment it seemed as if the endless Brexit saga would finally come to an end. However, that impression lasted just two hours at most. Then yesterday at around 9 p.m. Warsaw time, Arlene Foster, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, announced that her party would never support May's deal. This, in turn, means that the majority of Eurosceptic MPs in the Conservative Party, spearheaded by group leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, also won't vote for the deal worked out by the prime minister. And for the prime minister the humiliation continues because the House Speaker John Bercow warned that there cannot be another vote on her deal.”