Socialist Worker

Theresa May announces she is to go - now let’s get the rest of the Tories

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2656

Theresa May has announced her departure on 7 June

Theresa May has announced her departure on 7 June (Pic: Number 10/Flickr)


Theresa May has finally caved in to relentless pressure and announced she will resign as Tory leader on 7 June.

May will formally go after taking part in D-Day commemorations in France and hosting Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK.

The race to succeed her will officially begin immediately after that.

Gus O’Donnell, former head of the civil service, said top Tories had been “pointing a revolver at the prime minister’s head”, giving May no choice but to tender her resignation.

One of the most telling tributes came from Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP bigots that has propped up the Tories. Foster thanked May for “willingness to recognise Northern Ireland’s need for additional resources through confidence and supply arrangements”. In other words, “Thanks for the cash in exchange for our votes.”

May’s decision to leave No 10 reflects her utter inability to pass her Brexit proposals. This was the one central task after she became prime minister in 2016. And she has failed spectacularly.

Her statement today is an admission that it is not even worth trying to pass her “new and improved” Brexit deal because even more MPs would vote against it than last time.

Desperate

In the course of her increasingly desperate attempts to persuade parliament to swallow the deal, May has enraged big business and carved deep splits into the Tory party.

We can expect a bitter battle that will further divide the Tories. Some want only a leader who will be prepared to force through no-deal if necessary. Others would leave the party if that happened.

There are multiple candidates, with Boris Johnson as the clear favourite.

But the Tory election system allows MPs to decide which two candidates should go forward to a members’ vote.

And Johnson is so hated by some that he is not yet guaranteed to be in the final two.

More struggle in the streets and the workplaces will be needed to halt the attacks on working class people and make the calls for a general election into a reality.

In any case electing a new Tory leader will not change some basic facts.

Britain is still due to leave the EU on 31 October.

A May-type deal will not be passed by MPs and there is very little time for a new deal to be negotiated.

Other EU countries are not going to suddenly concede what some new Tory prime minister wants.

But MPs have also voted consistently against a no-deal Brexit. No amount of bluster will overcome those contradictions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was right to say, “The prime minister has now accepted what the country has known for months—she cannot govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

“The last thing the country needs is weeks of more Conservative infighting followed by yet another unelected prime minister. Whoever becomes the new Conservative Leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate general election.”

Trade union leaders echoed the call for a general election.

The fall of any Tory prime minister is a cause to rejoice. May has always represented a bitterly ruling class and racist set of politics. She backed all the austerity measures that have spread poverty and hardship.

There should be no sympathy for her fall.

Burning

When she became prime minister she talked about tackling “burning injustices”. And then made them worse.

The truest thing she ever said was, “You know what some people call us—the nasty party”.

But she also added her own racist twists.

In May 2012 while home secretary, she told the Daily Telegraph of her intention “to create here in Britain a really hostile environment for illegal migration”.

The purr-fect departure for the racist prime minister

The purr-fect departure for the racist prime minister


May also pushed an aggressive advertising campaign directed at immigrants. The adverts, in the form of mobile advertising hoardings, told immigrants to “go home or face arrest”, with an image of a person in handcuffs.

The original message was less aggressive, but was tightened up on May’s orders

Even the Daily Telegraph newspaper’s correspondent, reviewing May’s speech designed to win the leadership, said “It's hard to know where to start with Theresa May's awful, ugly, misleading, cynical and irresponsible speech to the Conservative Party conference today.

“If you haven't seen reports of it, allow me to summarise: ‘Immigrants are stealing your job, making you poorer and ruining your country. Never mind the facts, just feel angry at foreigners. And make me Conservative leader.”

The key task now is to use the Tories’ crisis to force them out.

More struggle in the streets and the workplaces will be needed to halt the attacks on working class people and make the calls for a general election into a reality.

Had this happened before May would have departed much sooner.

There should be no more waiting.


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