‘Herculean, selfless, inglorious’: What the papers say on PM’s vow to step down
The country’s national newspapers have given their verdicts after another tumultuous day in British politics.
With the Prime Minster promising to fall on her sword if her Brexit deal goes through, and MPs rejecting all eight options for alternative ways forward on Britain’s departure, the papers have plenty to write about.
The Guardian sums up the result of the indicative votes in its front page headline, declaring: “Parliament finally has its say: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.”
Several papers describe the situation as “chaos”, with the Daily Telegraph warning of more uncertainty despite Theresa May’s pledge to step down.
Praising her for a “Herculean effort” in trying to achieve Brexit, the paper suggests the PM is likely to resign on May 22 if her deal is passed.
“But there are still many obstacles to be negotiated on the way to that outcome,” it writes.
“Even at this stage, on the eve of what should have been Brexit Day, so much is still unresolved.”
The Times is more optimistic, however, suggesting her offer to stand down “holds out the possibility of a brighter future”.
“The priority will be to find a prime minister with the energy and ideas to tackle the challenges facing the nation, challenges that have been neglected on Mrs May’s watch,” it says in its leader.
“The country will want a dynamic reformer who can bring Britain together, not another divisive figure who has helped to drive it apart.
“Above all, they will want a person who can lead.”
Unwavering in its support of Mrs May, the Daily Express describes the PM’s sacrifice as a “selfless gesture” and a “valiant attempt to break the Brexit deadlock”.
It questions what more Mrs May has to do in its front page headline, and in its leader the paper hails her as a leader of “integrity, intelligence, courage and self‑sacrifice in the face of adversity, desertion and challenge”.
“Her willingness to hand over the reins is further evidence of the PM’s humility, dignity and wisdom – qualities her critics sorely lack,” it adds.
“Our political class should learn from her towering example. It is time for those from all parties to put the British people first by voting for her deal and enshrining it in law without delay.”
The Daily Mail also shows its backing for the PM and praises her for “doing what she thought right for her party and her country, regardless of personal cost” and urges Tory MPs not to let her “sacrifice” be in vain.
“Buffeted and battered by a fractious and divided Cabinet, obstructive backbenchers, a capricious and venal Europe, and a spiteful Opposition, she has behaved throughout with dignity,” the paper writes.
It attacks the Commons for taking control of the Brexit agenda, lamenting that the outcome of the votes “added to the confusion”.
“But be under no illusion. The purpose of these measures was to dilute or kill off Brexit,” it warns.
The Sun says Mrs May’s dedication as a public servant “cannot be doubted”, adding: “Brexit will only happen now if enough MPs swallow their pride and stand up, as Mrs May has, for our democracy.”
The Daily Mirror is less complimentary of the PM, and describes her premiership as an “inglorious spell in Downing Street”.
Her promise to resign was “the act of someone who long ago should have accepted they lacked the skills, temperament and imagination for the top job”, it adds.
“She will be remembered as a leader whose mishandling of the Brexit process inflamed divisions, while leaving the country facing an uncertain future,” it says.