Theresa May continues to face harsh backlash to her Brexit withdrawal plan which was agreed to by the EU yesterday (Sunday). On Friday she took to the phones at BBC radio 5Live to take questions from the public on Brexit, the EU withdrawal deal and the future of the UK. The phone-in had all the traits of a normal Brexit discussion; tones of uncertainty, sound bites and the feeling of not really gaining any new ground or information.
“What is Plan B?” asks host Emma Barnett. This is the question of the moment; a deal has been struck, all 27 member states have agreed, however, Theresa May has proven to be a big advocate of only crossing a bridge once coming to it during the whole of the Brexit process, and she is yet to actually propose a plan for if (but more likely at this point, when) this deal doesn’t get voted through parliament.
“I think if this deal doesn’t go through what happens is we end up back at square one. More uncertainty and more division” May replies. In short, there is no Plan B, perhaps because there still isn’t a functioning Plan A.
Underneath the last breaths of optimism she has left, listen closely enough and you can hear what the message really is, if enough MP’s don’t vote the deal through then it can only get worse. If this deal doesn’t go through, she says to one caller, the EU will not budge and offer a better deal. Barnett refers back to the ‘Plan B’ and asks how MPs can vote on this deal if they don’t even know the proposal of an alternative. Again she asks, “what is Plan B?” but the PM has nothing to give other than that there is now “no question of no Brexit”, aiming her response towards the many who still seek a second referendum or to topple the process altogether.
On the Left, Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are yet to offer an alternative to May’s plan. Other than ogling at the thought of another general election and promising that if they won it that they would negotiate a far better deal, little is to be offered from Labour apart from backlash to the PM’s Plan A – it seems as if they have no Plan B either.
Someone as camera shy as Theresa May hosting a live half-hour Friday lunchtime phone-in on 5Live is entertaining and alarming, but in this case, has not brought the debate forward. Not much else than a cosy chat where the same lines are being spun again.