Theresa May floundered during today’s Prime Minister’s Questions, as an on-fire Jeremy Corbyn attacked the government’s contempt for Parliament and its ever-worsening chaos.
But during the questions from other MPs, May faced a question that she blatantly avoided answering – and both the question and the answer give a strong hint of why May is in such trouble with both her own MPs and with the EU:
Labour backbencher Jim McMahon asked very clearly whether May would condemn Priti Patel’s sinister suggestion that the threat of starvation might be used to force the Republic of Ireland to relinquish its own interests in the border and ‘backstop’ situation on the island of Ireland.
The suggestion caused widespread and entirely justified outrage, but one Tory MP reported wished that the Irish would ‘know their place’ – a comment that showed clearly the Tory mentality that views Ireland as a wayward fiefdom and ignores centuries of British oppression and atrocity.
But May did not so much as hint at condemnation, instead answering a question McMahon had not asked, by offering him assurances the UK wouldn’t use the tactic in negotiations.
May is too weak and too afraid of her backbenchers to say what any reasonable person would have said – and too craven to command respect from EU leaders.
And her unwillingness to take on the anti-Irish attitude common among her MPs puts her in a hopeless position when it comes to trying to persuade the Irish that her party can be trusted or should be accommodated – just as her untrustworthiness on her promises to the DUP in Northern Ireland have led to the withdrawal of their support.
It was shameful – and educational.
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