During the General Election Campaign, Theresa May threatened voters by saying that a vote for Labour was a vote for a “Coalition of Chaos” led by Jeremy Corbyn. On the other hand, a vote for “Her and Her Team” was a vote for a strong and stable government, capable to negotiate a Brexit deal that worked for everyone and every part of the UK.
Three months on, and the United Kingdom is now in the hands of a Cabinet of Chaos, led by a weak and wobbly Leader. The Brexit negotiations have barely started and, Cabinet Members are now more divided than ever before on the issue. However, one thing is certainly clear: Theresa May is no longer in the position to control the Cabinet and she is now, as the Former Chancellor of the Exchequer labelled her, a dead woman walking.
In the last three weeks, we have seen Ministers and Cabinet Members contradicting one another as well as the PM’s position on Brexit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd talked about the need to avoid an immigration “cliff edge” that could severely impact both the public and private sectors and the need for transitional arrangements.
Mr Hammond has indeed argued that free movement would continue until 2022, with an added element of migrants having to register in the UK. However, soon after Theresa May’s official spokesman insisted that freedom of movement will end in March 2019.
The Home Secretary, Amber Rudd sought to reassure business there would be no sudden drop in access to skilled EU workers.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, also joined the argument. He defended the need for immigration from the EU and argued that any post-Brexit deal must serve the need for the NHS to recruit staff from all over the Continent.
On the other hand, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox insisted that allowing unregulated free movement after Brexit would mean going against the will of the British Public. H also added that the Cabinet had agreed no stance over such issue. He told The Sunday Times: “If there have been discussions on that, I have not been party to them. I have not been involved in any discussion on that, nor have I signified my agreement to anything like that.”
Boris Johnson also seemed unaware of Ms Rudd’s announcements of a report about the costs and benefits of EU migration.
What was meant to be a Referendum aimed at putting to rest the division in the Conservative Party over Europe, has actually led to further division and internal fight in the Party. In the last week it has also emerged that the Tories are now seen as more divided than Labour by the Public.
What is clear is that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond has gained the title of “Leader” for those Conservative MPs hoping for a “Soft Brexit” and transitional arrangements. Amber Rudd, Damian Green, David Gauke, Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark are his closest allies in the Cabinet. Backbenchers like Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen, Ed Vaizy have also openly supported the Chancellor’s position.
A snap election called to strengthen Theresa May’s hand in the Brexit negotiation has terribly backfired on the PM.
May had called a General Election to “crash” the opposition and achieve a landslide but hardly achieved a Minority Parliament. She threatened the Public by saying that a vote for Labour would been a vote for a coalition of chaos, led by Jeremy Corbyn.
Three months on and the UK is led by a Cabinet of Chaos with a weak and wobbly leader and no clear direction and unity.
Oh the irony.