Dublin: British Prime Minister Theresa May was supposed to have travelled here Wednesday to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to try to win some concessions on the deal she negotiated with Brussels last month.
But the triggering of a challenge to her leadership by at least 48 Conservative MPs in London meant May cancelled the trip and instead was focusing on winning the support of a majority of her parliamentary party back in London.
The leadership review comes following a tumultuous two days for May. On Monday, she was forced to cancel a vote in parliament on that agreement, saying the section relating to the border between the British-government province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic needed more clarification.
In Dublin, government ministers were warned not to comment on Wednesday’s developments, with a message from the Taoiseach’s office saying: “No tweets, no doorsteps, no interviews, no comment — stay out of UK political party leadership issues.”
On Tuesday, May met with the leaders of Germany, the Netherlands and the EU seeking changes to that agreement. In Berlin, The Hague and Brussels, the answer was the same — the Brexit deal was the Brexit deal, and there could be no further changes to the document.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on March 29, leaving little is any room for further talks after 18 months of stop-start negotiations as May struggled with growing opposition within the ranks of her cabinet and Conservative party.
Now, after May’s decision not to put that deal to a House of Commons vote — she says that will happen before January 21 — the leadership review has been triggered.