NEVER attack a woman with a sore throat, some might say, but when the kingdom’s very existence is at stake, polite rules do not apply.
So let this be said with brutal directness: Theresa May, impotent, forlorn and currently unable to speak, needs to quit, and quit soon.
Theresa May’s time as Prime Minister has come to an end, writes Quentin Letts
Her sorry time as Prime Minister has reached its end. The country needs a new head of government before we all plunge our heads in the nearest khazi.
It was bad luck that Mrs May should succumb to late winter lurgy and lose her voice this critical week at Westminster, just when she needed it most. But in politics, and life, luck sticks to winners like burrs to a sheep’s fleece.
With Mrs May we have become depressingly used to things going wrong. She called a general election and somehow mislaid her majority.
She made a speech at a Tory conference and the back-wall lettering started to fall off, like something from TV’s Reggie Perrin.
She travelled to Germany and the door of her limo became stuck.
Let’s face it: She’s a bit of a Frank Spencer, but without the laughter.
SERIOUS AND SERIAL FAILURES
Ill-fortune alone is not the reason she should go. It is her serious and serial failures as a politician, as a leader, as a communicator and parliamen-tarian that qualify her for the chop.
Back in 2010, when Gordon Brown was crowbarred out of Downing Street, some of us reckoned we would never see a worse Prime Minister.
Alas, Mrs May has made calamity Brown look like Alexander the Great.
She’s even less suited to the premiership than poor old Huddersfield Town.
To be Home Secretary demanded mastery of small print and remorseless hard work.
She lasted six years in the job and was held to have been a success (even if some of her policies later unravelled).
AFP or licensors The damaging resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson means that May has lost the support of numerous pro-Brexit Tory backbenchers
To be Prime Minister is a different matter. It requires vision, a sense of political philosophy, an ability — at the risk of getting flowery — to think in poetry, not prose.
A good Prime Minister is like a powerful preacher, selling beliefs and soothing the people’s fears. Mrs May, as PM, has only ever stoked fear. She has made us all feel miserable.
It did not help that she never believed in the 2016 referendum’s Leave vote. She herself practically vanished in the referendum campaign, saying she supported Remain but doing almost nothing for her side. That’s cowardly.
Then, when it suited her purposes, she said “Brexit means Brexit”. Her volte-face did not convince the European Commission, which clocked her as a bluffer. When she said “No Deal is better than a bad deal”, Brussels knew she would fold.
A proper political leader delegates. Mrs May, however, has a mania for secrecy and it was this that led to the damaging resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson after she ambushed them with her Chequers plan last summer.
Even when her voice is working, it lacks honey
She had failed to keep them informed of her plans for Brexit.
The loss of those two men meant she no longer had the support of numerous pro-Brexit Tory backbenchers.
Then there is her personal manner. This is going to sound ungallant but at Westminster the personal is political.
She lacks an easy touch with her Parliamentary colleagues.
She is an awkward mixer. Even when her voice is working, it lacks honey.
One can over-state the importance of front-of-house charm — David Cameron had it in buckets and he still came a cropper — but you do need social cop-on to be an effective leader, particularly of a minority Government.
I am not saying Mrs May is a bad person. She is a churchgoing soul without personal greed.
SIMPERED AND DITHERED
She is financially honest — unlike at least one of her recent predecessors — and remarkably resilient, not least in the way she has coped with her diabetes.
But you do wonder why someone so hesitant in speech and character ever went into politics. Should she not have become a judge or civil servant instead?
Her record of appointments has been iffy. She made that sly dullard Philip Hammond her Chancellor. Have we ever had two people so unscintillating as PM and Chancellor?
She kept filling her Cabinet with Europhiles, even though they had little hunger for a proper Brexit.
She also reappointed Amber Rudd to her top team as Pensions Secretary just a few months after former Home Secretary Rudd had left amid the Windrush scandal.
How did lifelong Euro-obsessive Rudd repay the favour? By plotting against May and colluding with Tory Remainers to try to block Brexit.
A proper leader would not have tolerated smirking snoots like Dominic Grieve and Sir Oliver Letwin, two Tory backbenchers who have conspired against Brexit in direct contravention of their 2017 election promises.
A proper leader would have ripped into them, laying bare their elitist disregard for the millions of working-class voters who demanded that we leave the anti-democratic EU.
May just simpered and dithered.
She will probably have to stay for a few weeks (or months) until we finally leave the wretched EU, but after that the Tories must find a new leader if they are to have any hope of winning the General Election that looks imminent.
CommentTHE SUN SAYS This Parliament of pygmies has sold the British people down the river CommentSIR TIM BERNERS-LEE How to save the World Wide Web… by the Brit genius who invented it CommentTONY PARSONS Thanks to Rudd, the selfish Ayatollah of Remain, the EU will get their way CommentJANE MOORE Ethiopian Airlines crash shows life should be lived while we have the chance CommentKARREN BRADY You’re in for a treat with Celebrity Apprentice — it’s worth the ten-year wait
Tory activists love Boris but it is hard to see envious MPs putting him through to the final two on the ballot. Jeremy Hunt would be another May. Sajid Javid comes across as metallic and bald in more than one sense.
The likeliest bet may be Andrea Leadsom, the pro-Brexit Leader of the Commons, though she needs to work on her profile.
But really it could be anyone. Because anyone would be better than loser May.
PA:Press Association Boris Johnson insists that the EU will offer Britain a better Brexit deal at the last minute
PM Theresa May says ‘MPs now face consequences’ after they voted to reject a No Deal Brexit