Shropshire Star comment: Will Theresa May rise to the challenge?
Three Shropshire MPs are among the signatories of the Brexit letter to the Prime Minister, which adds pressure at a time when Theresa May must feel as though she’s about to pop.
Owen Paterson, Lucy Allan and Daniel Kawczynski have added their names to the communique that Mrs May probably received with some despondency.
While the letter ostensibly sets out ideas and opportunities upon which the PM can reflect, there is also a quite different interpretation.
This would suggest the letter is seeking to tie Mrs May’s hands and restrict her scope for manoeuvre.
And so, rather than focusing on policy, the media is once more looking at personality. The precariousness of Mrs May’s position is the subject on the agenda, rather than the type of deal we might expect from Brexit.
Brexit is the defining political issue of our era and Mrs May’s legacy will be based on it – providing she lasts long enough to see it through. Having voted to Remain, she is tasked with introducing a policy in which she does not believe.
She finds herself on the wrong side of the argument with our European cousins, who can easily out-flank and out-number her.
The letter emphasises that the signatories support the prime minister, but the message is clear: the UK must have full control over laws after Brexit and must be in charge of its own trade deals.
At a time when the questions over Mrs May’s leadership refuse to go away, this is being seen by some as a further erosion of her authority.
Given the complexity of the Brexit negotiations, it would be interesting to ponder how this development will be interpreted by those in the EU.
While the Brexit issue is still hugely divisive – perhaps even more so than in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.
And it is arguable that strong leadership is more important than ever to ensure the departure from the EU is managed sensibly and in a way that protects this country’s interests.
Whether Mrs May will be able to rise to this considerable challenge is a matter for debate and it looks as though her premiership is about to enter a critical phase.