Monday, 18 March 2019

Brought down by a lie?

There is a view in parts of the Conservative Party that Theresa May has never really supported Brexit and that the negotiations would have gone the way that they wanted had they been led, instead, by a committed Brexiteer.  After all, she did say – in a very minimal contribution during the referendum campaign – that she believed that the UK should remain in the EU. 
But are the suspicions of the Brexiteers that she is still a closet Remainer fair or reasonable?  This analysis suggests not, arguing that she has always been a virulent Brexiteer.  It would mean, of course, that when she said she was backing remain during the referendum she was lying; but given what we now know about her propensity (or lack of) for truthfulness, that could hardly be a surprise.  Saying what she thought at the time was expedient in the light of the general expectation that Remain would win is entirely in character.  Reading the full text of her recent Grimsby speech, what we see is repetition of all the standard Brexiteer lines with no hint of any doubt about the veracity of them, even when they’re obviously untrue.
She’s not a particularly good liar; she doesn’t even manage to sound convincing on the few occasions when what she says is demonstrably true.  And whilst that one lie told during the referendum campaign when she said that she believed that remaining was the right option for the UK might be believable to fewer and fewer as time passes, it is still believed by precisely that one group in her own party whose support she now needs and isn’t getting.  There would be a certain poetic justice in it all if those with whom she has always agreed in truth bring her down because she once lied and said she didn’t.

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