In Surreal Turn, May Tries to Bring Forward Summer Holidays

(Bloomberg) -- For many it smacked of despair that Theresa May wanted to send lawmakers off early to their summer vacations. Was the British prime minister so worried about plots to oust her?

That is how many politicians and observers are interpreting the government’s latest, almost surreal, move to introduce a motion to pack members of Parliament off on vacation. One Tory lawmaker said the whole situation was a “shambles” and May’s office doesn’t know what it’s doing.

Her plan is especially surprising given that from Wednesday, her party’s lawmakers are under a one-line whip -- meaning most aren’t required to be at Westminster at all unless directly involved in what is being debated.

In less than two weeks, May has lost 10 members of her government over her Brexit plans -- starting with David Davis, her chief negotiator with Brussels.

It had been a steady drip of resignations from the pro-Brexit wing of her party, and now the anti-Brexit camp is up in arms as well. On Monday night, she was forced to adopt amendments to key customs legislation that were designed to thwart her policy. Even then, she squeaked by with just three votes -- thanks to Labour lawmakers voting against their own party’s instructions.

Later on Tuesday, Parliament will vote on whether to send MPs home earlier than planned and there is every chance May -- who increasingly seems to be living day by day -- will be defeated. Labour will tell its lawmakers to vote against it. It would take just a handful of Tories for her to be defeated -- unless of course she decides to pull the plan at the last minute.

The government is still considering lawmakers’ views, May’s spokesman, James Slack, said when asked if the government was planning to go through with a vote.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.