Despite Brexit mess, Theresa May should be treated kindly by history

In July of 2016 Theresa May moved into 10 Downing Street as leader of the Conservative Party and prime minister of the United Kingdom.

At the time she said “As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold new positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us."

But the effort to leave the European Union and the subsequent failure to make it happen would define Mrs. May’s tenure and her torturous demise.

Critics claimed the prime minister had voted to stay in the EU and it made her weak in negotiations with Brussels. That may be a little unfair, but she certainly wasn’t a full-blooded Brexiteer and she did contribute to her own downfall.

The decision in April 2017 to call for snap election horribly backfired.

Instead of strengthening her position in Brexit negotiations, the election ended with a hung Parliament with Conservatives actually losing 13 seats and having to settle for a minority government propped up by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party.

The prime minister tried to soldier on, but the rest is a sad history of failed attempts to have Parliament approve a Brexit plan by the March 29, 2019 deadline.

In the process, she survived a vote of confidence by her own party in December 2018 and a parliamentary vote of no confidence the following month.

But the writing was on the wall and it became clear Theresa May’s time as Conservative leader and prime minister was slipping away – now she has officially resigned as party leader.

I have tremendous respect for Mrs. May.


She maintained her dignity and composure under tremendous pressure, taking abuse from all around her, including her own party, but she never buckled.

She will leave 10 Downing Street once her replacement has been found and she can leave with her head held high. British politics can be as bruising as the media that covers it, and it takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to repeatedly get knocked down and keep getting up.

After 1,059 days of political battles it is striking that May leaves with a quiet letter of resignation, almost a whimper, but I hope history will be kind to a woman who truly believed she was trying to do the right thing.