An ongoing row between the UK’s ruling Conservative Party about a possible snap election in November has entered a new phase, as former Tory leader William Hague warned allies of Prime Minister Theresa May against such ideas.
In an article published by the Telegraph on Tuesday, Hague said people thinking of holding a snap vote to save May and her plans to take the UK out of the European Union (EU) must be inebriated.
“If you find yourself talking, as some Tory aides were reported at the weekend as doing, of deliberately having another general election soon, you have probably had too much alcohol, or you might even need medical help,” he wrote.
“If the party were united on Brexit, it would be a brave idea; as things stand it is a nonsensical one. You can’t have an election to resolve a problem within your own party and expect anything other than a disaster,” he added.
The Times also claimed that May was planning to step down from her role next summer, citing a member of her inner circle
Downing Street has denied the reports as “categorically untrue.”
Speculations about a possible early election grew after the Sunday Times reported that at least two of May’s senior aides had suggested an early general election in response to the EU leaders’ humiliating rejection of her “Chequers plan” that was designed to keep the UK closely aligned to the EU after Brexit.
Under the plan, which was designed to address the EU’s three main concerns about Brexit, the UK would enter into a free trade area with the EU that has common rules and standards in several major industries, and maintain customs duties regulations but end freedom of movement between EU member states and the UK.
May presented the plans at a meeting in Salzburg earlier this week only to be met with strong opposition from her European counterparts, who said the plan was simply unworkable.
The PM’s handling of Brexit has drawn much criticism from the EU as well as both the opponents of the divorce — who want a second referendum — and the proponents of a so-called “hard-Brexit” in her own party — who insist on a severing all ties with the bloc.
Last year, May tried to gain a bigger majority in the parliament to back his Brexit plans by announcing a snap vote in June.
But the gamble didn’t pay off as Labour, the main opposition party, won more seats and the Tories lost their absolute majority only to get it back by forming an embarrassing coalition with the Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).