ANALYSIS: How diminished Theresa May moved from conquest to consensus in three months
It’s fair to say Theresa May’s speech announcing the snap general election has not aged well.
The strident Brexity rallying cry captured by the Daily Mail’s ‘Crush the Saboteurs’ headline looks like so much hollow tub-thumping.
Her description of June’s vote as the “only way to guarantee certainty and stability” has been rendered laughable by events.
This was the Prime Minister on April 18:
“I have a simple challenge to the opposition parties, you have criticised the government's vision for Brexit, you have challenged our objectives, you have threatened to block the legislation we put before Parliament.
"What they are doing jeopardises the work we must do to prepare for Brexit at home and it weakens the government's negotiating position in Europe. If we do not hold a general election now their political game-playing will continue..."
Fast-forward three months and May has moved from conquest to consensus.
From accusing her opponents of “political game-playing” and “jeopardising Brexit”, the PM will tomorrow issue a call for other political parties to get involved in shaping the Government’s plans.
"I say to the other parties in the House of Commons… come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country," she will say.
“We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion – the hallmarks of our Parliamentary democracy – ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found.”
It’s an admission of her weakness not only on Brexit but on issues such as social care, which proved so toxic for the Tories during the campaign.
And while May will talk a big game about “her determination to address difficult issues and take big decisions”, the dominance of Brexit combined with a hostile parliament make her room for manoeuvre extremely limited.
If a week is a long time in politics, three months is an eternity.
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