Sputnik has talked about Theresa May's Brexit plan with James Marlow, a member of the UK's Conservative Party.
Sputnik: Interesting enough I was reading an article that you had with Sputnik about a month or so ago and you were saying that Theresa May had a lot of strength in her position at that particular moment. I'm was just wondering whether you have the same sort of sentiments, a lot of people are saying that although these letters have gone in she's probably likely to be able to force this fire away and have enough support and strength even if there is a vote of no confidence, are you in the same agreement with that?
If you cast your mind back to 2017, not very long ago, when she called the general election that was because she was having problems with people who were opposing the idea of leaving the EU just like the people voted for in 2016. She chose not to go on to live TV news debates with the other leaders. In fact, Amber Rudd went along to the main Sky News and all the other leaders were there but she chose not to do that because she felt that it wasn't necessary, and that was I think a big mistake on her part.
And I think that it changed some people's minds because a lot of people have had a certain amount of respect for her, but it doesn't change the arithmetic in the House of Commons in terms of her support. It doesn't change the general feeling of those people who feel like we want to stay in the EU no matter what, and for those people who say that if we're going to leave that we have to leave, which means outside of the customs union and outside of the single market and that does not appear to be happening for several years to come.
Sputnik: That's the key crux of the situation, the mechanics of the party itself, the Conservative Party, are saying that they look as though the majority of the MPs are going to agree to this draft agreement which is in stark contrast with what the country voted for. If this agreement does get passed through and over the last few days I've spoken to many people and they feel that this particular agreement just may well get through, the whole country is going to be up in arms and they're not going to be happy about it. What's your feeling on the ground as a UK Conservative Party as to which way this vote is going to go, last week they were saying it's going to be kicked out as the days go past, the general sentiment as you've said about going on these radio shows and fighting the corner, is that potentially this could get passed through, are you in agreement with that?
James Marlow: The answer is I don't know, and I've spoken to several members of Parliament and they also don't know; certainly on the Conservative side some people are holding back because there's been so much unbelievable stuff, if you like, that has occurred in the last couple of months that we never really thought that we would get to this situation and that there could potentially be a leadership challenge to Mrs May's role.
Do you know the background to the 1922 Committee? […] It's headed by a man called Graham Brady and he has to receive 48 letters and the letters will say that we have no confidence in the prime minister and therefore we wish to trigger a leadership challenge. But the background behind it is, and it is very interesting actually, because it is an organisation or a committee, a group that represents the backbenchers in the House and it was formed in 1922 when there was a rebellion of Tory or Conservative members of parliament which did not wish to continue working alongside the Liberal party led by Lloyd George at the time.
Sir Graham Brady is not allowed to even tell his wife. I had a feeling that he probably did have those letters over the weekend. I'm now pretty certain he does not have them. There is this feeling that he is going to get them in the coming weeks. Although I have to tell you that some MPs now held back from sending in a letter because they know that it's not really going to change anything.
They now no longer got that support. Within the Conservative Party itself you have around 50 members of Parliament in the Conservatives that are completely against this agreement; and they want out of the customs union, out of the single market and they want that to take place as from 29 March 2019, which is what the prime minister always said that as of the end of March we would be out of the EU. But that's not the case.
You then got another maybe 50 Conservative members of Parliament on the other side that don't agree of coming out of the EU. Some of them are even calling for what they call a 'people's vote', of course, there was a 'people's vote' two and a half years ago and therefore they want another one. But it's the silent majority, those ones in the middle, and that's a lot of them, could be just under 200, that we're not quite sure where they're going to fall when it comes to this particular deal being put forward or agreement being voted upon in the House in the next couple of weeks.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of James Marlow and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.