SARAH VINE: Now back-stabbing zealots must get behind Theresa MayDecember 13, 2018
SARAH VINE: Now the venal wreckers must get behind Theresa May
Westminster can be a bubble. And sometimes it needs to be pricked.
That is why I have a simple message for those Conservative MPs who thought the best Christmas present they could give the country was a leadership election.
Look at your folly. Look at your self-regarding idiocy. And look at yourselves as the public at large mostly see you: a cabal of whey-faced, pin-striped boors attempting to bring down a brave and determined woman just trying to do her best against impossible odds.
It was bad enough that Jeremy Corbyn referred to Mrs May’s exhausting tour of European leaders on Monday as ‘your little travels’ during PMQ’s today.
(That actually made my blood boil. He said it as though she’d been off shopping in Bond Street, not busting a gut negotiating on behalf of the nation.)
Far worse was the treachery from her own side, as the back-stabbers, grudge-bearers and preening self-promoters coalesced in their contempt for the will of the people.
Theresa May arriving at 10 Downing Street for the result of a confidence vote today
For the millions who voted in the Referendum and just want it delivered, all this has been a monumental distraction and diversion.
Worse, it has risked delaying or diluting Brexit and handing the initiative to Corbyn and his crew of Marxist zealots.
MPs had one job: to negotiate, agree and secure an orderly Brexit. Instead, too many have spent the best part of the last two years bickering and point scoring and throwing spanners in the works – undermining the public’s already fairly shaky faith in democracy.
At a point in time where Britain ought to have been looking forward to an exciting new chapter in this island’s history, we instead found ourselves facing terrifying uncertainty.
The prospect of a new Prime Minister – or worse, a general election and the threat of a Labour government. Parliament has not so much fallen short of its duty as fallen flat on its face.
We knew right from the start that getting a deal through the Chamber was going to be tricky.
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, referred to Mrs May’s exhausting tour of European leaders on Monday as ‘your little travels’ during PMQ’s today
After all, only 24 per cent of MPs supported Leave, so any Prime Minister intent on delivering the result of the Referendum was always going to have to stroke a few egos.
But I don’t think anyone seriously imagined they were going to be quite this venal and self-interested.
As for the Conservative party itself, this could have been a golden opportunity to lead by example and consolidate its reputation as the party of grown-ups.
Armed with a clear mandate from the people, it should have rallied behind its new leader, setting aside personal differences of opinion, minds focussed as one on getting the job done swiftly, safely and with minimal possible disruption.
Instead it has proven itself to have more divas than a drag artists’ convention.
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But it is not too late. There is still time to remedy this disaster. Now that she has survived this vote, it is time for the party to break the habit of a lifetime – and show some genuine unity.
Not least because she’s earned it.
I’ve said it once and I will say it again: Theresa May was not my first choice for Prime Minister.
She didn’t behave well when she was appointed leader, and she made serious mistakes early on, not least calling a disastrous general election and triggering Article 50 too soon, before anyone had really had a chance to work out Britain’s best negotiating position.
But since then she has worked tirelessly to repair the damage of those naive and misguided early days. She has learnt some very hard lessons along the way, and each time she has sought to come back stronger and more determined.
She has negotiated a deal that, while by no means perfect, is pretty damn impressive given the determination in Brussels to keep us in the EU, leads the country broadly in the right direction while ensuring minimal disruption to our (incidentally very healthy, certainly by the standards of other member states) economy.
MPs had one job: to negotiate, agree and secure an orderly Brexit. Instead, too many have spent the best part of the last two years bickering and point scoring and throwing spanners in the works – undermining the public’s already fairly shaky faith in democracy
At the same time she has presided over historic improvements in employment and wages and a lively domestic agenda focused on key areas such as house building and the environment.
Quite why all this hard work has been rewarded by a vote of No Confidence from her own party is a mystery to me – as it is also to many voters, most of whom are keen for her to stay on and finish the job (according to a youGov poll today, 45 per cent of Leave voters want her to remain in office, while the general public wants her to stay by a margin of 40 to 34 per cent).
Another mystery, of course, is how she continues to put one foot in front of the other. There are many half her age who would be utterly ground down by what she faces day in, day out, hour after hour at the hands of her own party.
Truth is, for all Theresa May’s faults, for all her mistakes and setbacks, they are lucky to have her.
Lucky to have a woman who gets knocked down time and again, but who always gets back in the saddle.
A woman who, in the face of intolerable rudeness, persistent mockery and downright sexism, simply smiles and keeps on going.
A woman who, for all she may be bloody difficult, is also, in many ways, bloody remarkable.
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