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    There is a 50/50 Chance for May to Stay in Power in the Next Two Months – Journo

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    The Daily Mail reported citing a leaked memo circulating among Tory MPs that the UK prime minister could be forced to step down from her post in April. The document presented a shortlist of possible replacements for Theresa May and assessed their chances of becoming prime minister.

    Sputnik discussed the news with Yannis Koutsomitis, a European affairs analyst.

    Sputnik: The news of Theresa May's potential ouster has been in the news for quite a while in the last couple of weeks. How likely is such an outcome for the prime minister?

    Yannis Koutsomitis: I think it very much depends on how much room Mrs. May will get from the European leaders for a possible Brexit agreement. If the European Union stays put in a hard position regarding the backstop of the Irish border, I think that Mrs. May will have a serious problem within the Conservative Party. There are several MPs that are very unhappy with what Mrs. May is negotiating with the EU, so I would say there is a 50/50 chance that she will stay on as prime minister in the next few months.

    Sputnik: The memo reportedly considers Boris Johnson as an unlikely replacement for Theresa May; should it ever come to Mrs. May's ouster who could fill in the vacant position?

    Yannis Koutsomitis: I think it will very much depend on what the outcome of a deal or a no-deal with the EU will be. Because if there is a hard Brexit or a no-deal, then there has to be a new leader that will be able to support the no-deal situation. I think that Mr. Johnson is more suited for that situation. If there is an agreement with the EU and Mrs. May is still ousted, then I think that someone from a more moderate side of the Conservatives will be on a front line because the Conservatives will need a leader that will take them to the next election, not just a prime minister who will take over the government.

    READ MORE: Britain's People's Vote on EU Referendum Goes to the Dogs #Wooferendum

    Sputnik: It's a very difficult situation; we've been talking about this for a number of months now about whether Mrs. May is credible in terms of being the prime minister or whether she is able to deliver Brexit to a level that is acceptable to the electorate, the government and the private sector. It's a very difficult and challenging job and we have not really seen a prime ministerial attack on her in terms of a potential competitive challenge to her prime ministership. Most observers have actually said that she's doing a difficult job, but there's nobody else in a position to do it. Perhaps she would just be left to get on with it until after Brexit is delivered; is that your opinion or what's your opinion on this?

    Yannis Koutsomitis: I agree. In this situation Mrs. May is doing the best any Conservative leader could do regarding the divisions existing within the party. I think that the key solution will be the Irish backstop. If there is a solution found in that very difficult issue, I think that the single market or a semi-single market will be an issue that even Brexiteers can live with. The Irish backstop is the most contentious issue. Mrs. May may have to drop its alliance with DUP of Northern Ireland in order to do that and I don't know how the government will be able to stay on after that, but I don't see any other solution.

    Sputnik: What's your stance on the Chequers deal and what elements of it are most of the opposition MPs within the Brexit division upset about?

    Yannis Koutsomitis: I think it's a realistic approach. It's not a good approach either for the Leavers or for the Remainers because it tries to bridge the situation where the British economy would be severely hit in case of a hard Brexit, and on the other hand, she has to maintain the electorate's will for Brexit. So, I think that the Chequers plan is not a bad situation; it looks negative because no one is really happy about it. But at this point, it is the most realistic approach to have the least bad situation for the British economy and for the UK as a whole.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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