Alas, it is over. The Prime Minister’s reign has ended. Mrs May has officially announced a timetable for her resignation and very soon the country will have a new Prime Minister. Whilst undeniably brutal, this resignation was inevitable. Theresa May had run out of road and of ideas. There was nowhere else left for her to go.
Yet Mrs May’s resignation doesn’t solve the Conservative Party’s problems. Far from it. Whisper it quietly but the numbers haven’t changed. The parliamentary arithmetic will still be against the new leader. And of course the Brexit elephant is still in the room.
So what happens next? Well first the leadership contest. This contest will begin following a likely win for the Brexit Party in the European Elections. This will impact the race. Match this with the stance of the Tory grassroots and the impact will be candidates adopting harder and harder stances on Brexit. The winner could be pushed into accepting a No Deal Brexit position.
Now we know Parliament is against No Deal. It has highlighted this several times. However a recent article from the Institute for Government suggests a new Prime Minister intent on No Deal Brexit couldn’t be stopped by MPs. Could this be a way out of the logjam, even if it is undesirable to parliamentarians?
Well, possibly. But there is always the final and last option for MPs. A vote of No Confidence in the Government. A previous vote of No Confidence was defeated by the Government. However a Government insistent on No Deal could lose the support its own MPs. With a wafer thin majority of five it would only take a few Tory MPs to rebel and vote against the Government to bring it down. MPs such as Guto Bebb and Dominic Grieve have indicated they would not be afraid of doing what was necessary.
Ok, where does this leave us? Well, any attempt by a hard Brexiteer to pursue a No Deal will cause the Government to fall. A new leader could try to renegotiate the agreement but that would need an extension. A second referendum with the new leader committed to No Deal? Surely the Conservative Party wouldn’t allow this.
So how does it end? Well it might not be desirable but when the arithmetic is against you there is only one way out. And yes you have guessed it, a General Election.