Nigel Hastilow: Poor Theresa is left having to make deals with the devil

Nigel Hastilow considers Theresa May’s last throes as Prime Minister.

Theresa May
Theresa May

Poor old Theresa May. She is reduced to doing deals with the devil, or at least the Marxist she has always portrayed as Satan’s representative on earth.

Jeremy Corbyn is the very last politician a self-respecting Conservative would ever want to do business with.

But in the pursuit of Brexit - any Brexit except a no-deal Brexit - she will get into bed with anybody, even ‘magic grand-dad’ himself.

This is a triumph for the Labour leader and the worst, most humbling humiliation yet for the woman who promised the nation her mission was to ‘deliver Brexit’.

The tragic truth is Mrs May has nowhere else to go. She cannot deliver any sort of Brexit at all without the cooperation of the Labour Party.

And Jezza has, quite reasonably, not made it easy for her. At any stage in the last two years, he could have wheeled his troops in behind the majority of Tory MPs and voted for her deal.

There is nothing in it a Labour Brexiteer can take exception to. But helping to keep the Tories in power and making Mrs May’s life easy are not Labour objectives.

So Jezza and his cronies have gone out of their way to be unhelpful even though most Labour voters want Brexit and Mr Corbyn himself longs for it.

You can’t blame them. It was the Tories who got us into this mess and they can jolly well get us out of it again. Maybe.

Theresa May is coming to the end of her time as Prime Minister. Her departure could be days away and she cannot possibly stay in office beyond the end of this year no matter what happens next.

Her Premiership has one purpose and one purpose only: to deliver Brexit. If she fails to cobble something together which could plausibly be described as a Brexit of sorts, then the sole objective of her time in power will end in utter, abject failure.


If, on the other hand, she can secure something, no matter how feeble, and call it a deal, she will think she can leave with her head held high, secure in the knowledge she fulfilled her promise to the nation.

I am convinced Mrs May suffers every setback, withstands every blow and deals with every disaster with such single-minded stubbornness because she cannot allow her three-year stint in Number Ten to be written off as a failure.

Every Prime Minister worries about their legacy, how history will see them, whether the decisions made in the heat of battle stand up to scrutiny in the cold court of critical opinion years later.

Mrs May’s will be seen exclusively in the context of Brexit. And all the signs are that history will judge hers to have been a disastrous tenancy in Downing Street.

Giving Jeremy Corbyn the power to determine what sort of Brexit the country gets might throw a lifeline to her legacy but it could destroy the party she has served since she was a teenager.

If she is serious about doing a deal with him, she will have to abandon all the ‘red lines’ she promised she would never cross. We will be stuck in a common market, we will retain freedom of movement, we will submit to every EU law. We may even be forced into a second referendum.

This is not Brexit. Yet, in the most basic sense, Mrs May will have severed a few ties with Brussels, largely by giving up any influence Britain might have over the superstate’s future decisions in exchange for BINO (Brexit in name only).

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