LONDON — Few people will be more relieved at yesterday’s long-sought U.K.-EU deal on Brexit than British Prime Minister Theresa May. Her pre-dawn dash to Brussels to announce the agreement alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker showed how much May needed a Brexit breakthrough to strengthen her tenuous grip on power at home. Anand Menon, director of the U.K. in a Changing Europe think-tank, said the agreement “reinforces her.” “It makes people think ‘Yes, she can carry this off,'” he said. Rumors of May’s imminent political demise have swirled from the moment she lost her Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority in a June election that she had called in a bid to strengthen her hand in Britain’s divorce negotiations with the EU. Instead, a weakened May had to strike a deal with Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party to prop up her government. Conservative leadership rivals such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson circled, holding back from a challenge largely because polls suggested the opposition Labour Party would win any new election. May is both the pilot of Britain’s journey out of the EU and its prisoner. Before the June 2016 Brexit referendum, she had argued for staying in the bloc. But… Read full this story
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