Within an hour we will know whether UK premier Theresa May has been a skilful communicator or not.
The Conservative Party MPs are voting on whether to oust her as their leader. If she wins she cannot be challenged for 12 months. If she loses she can plough on as Prime Minister – but no longer as Tory Party leader.
To win votes at today’s confidence vote she has vowed to step down before the 2022 General Election. She didn’t hint on whether she would step down in the event of an earlier election.
As things stand she may lead a minority government if the DUP pull out.
The vote today became a reality after enough furious Tory MPs asked for it today following May’s decision to abort Tuesday’s Westminster vote on her flagship Brexit deal.
But I for one think she has a bold plan badly sold. She has not been a good communicator and her decision to delay the Westminster vote upon her admission of not having sufficient votes have weakened her.
For one thing, May has failed to communicate that much of her historic deal agreed with all 27 other EU member states still has pockets requiring further negotiation.
She was heckled down trying to explain that by Brexit zealots.
But she ought to have pressed on. The fact much remains to be negotiated means we can have a decent transitionary phase and also it’s a strength, not weakness. It means we have not been boxed into defeat but given time to thrash out a fair deal ahead. More time for Brexiteers to make their case.
Secondly, it nicely dovetails with my proposal that the entire deal be reviewed in five years and three months, or 63 months if you prefer.
I have recently blogged on the importance to both sides that a five year review is conducted. At the risk of protests, it also needs to be between all 27 member states plus the UK. To avoid chaos such talks would involve a committee for EU representing even the smallest countries views.
That review is the only thing May should ask the EU to insert in the deal. It would help get the deal in principle approved by Westminster and avoid a costly, near tragic, crashing out of the EU next March with no agreement, which can only assist the interests of international smugglers.
My belief is that May has earned the role to be at the final signing of the Brexit deal. Question now is not whether she will be premier on March 29, but whether Westminster will put the national interest first and ensure there is a deal to sign!