Would it not be just dandy to become Prime Minister without the inconvenience of having to win a General Election? A rare and much sought-after opportunity and it has arisen. All you have to do is to replace Mrs May as leader of the Tory party. You know that a Brexiteer would stand the best chance with the membership of the party. That said, to secure a Nomination from the Parliamentary Party you will need to offer a feasible way out of the current impasse which, if possible, appeals to both hard-line and soft-line Brexiteers and even, perhaps, to closet Remainers in the party. But is that possible?
You could seek the Nomination on the basis that you will go for a No Deal Brexit now. However, you know that would not command support amongst many Tory MP’s and you also know that Parliament has the power and the intention of blocking such a move. Hmmm.
You could offer to return to Brussels to seek a Deal that does not risk the UK finding itself stuck in an arrangement that is a BINO, Brexit In Name Only, and thus tied into Europe but without a place at the governing table. However, you know that, even with upcoming changes in the European Parliament and the Commission, the EU is not going to throw Ireland under the bus or put the Single Market at risk just to make life easier for the Brits. Hmmm, again.
Whatever your bid, you must maintain the ‘validity’ of the Referendum and promise to prevent a Peoples’ Vote that could reverse it. You also know from the outcome of the upcoming elections to the European Parliament that to stay in power in the longer term you need to steal back the Tory voters who had fled to the Brexit Party.
So, what might you do to win the Nomination of the Parliamentary Party and to stand a chance of winning the run-off vote with the party membership and even, perhaps, the next General Election?
The answer is, cry betrayal. Point out that the impasse we have reached is because the negotiations were mishandled from the outset and, in particular, because we did not have a viable plan for leaving with No Deal. Promise that you will reset the negotiations by developing a viable No Deal plan and standing at the next General Election on a Deal or No Deal Brexit. However, you will also explain that, meanwhile, you will revoke Article 50 to prevent Parliament reversing the Referendum by forcing a Peoples’ Vote or imposing a soft Brexit BINO before that Election.
Such a promise would attract or at least appease Tory Brexiteers in and out of Parliament and bring the Remainers and waverers in behind you simply because it calls Brexit off.
Of course, you might lose out on the Nomination and/or the Members’ Vote to some other contender who promises what we know is the impossible, be it a No Deal Brexit now or a soft Brexit. In that event, you will simply have to keep your powder dry until the winner runs onto the rocks in Westminster and/or Brussels and the opportunity to lead the Tory party returns.