British Prime Minister Theresa May stared at the prospect Wednesday of her political career coming to an inglorious end after her final attempt to save her hated Brexit deal was almost universally condemned by parliament.
The beleaguered premier is in the last throes of a tumultuous rule focused all-but exclusively on guiding her fractured country out of the European Union in one piece.
But three overwhelming rejections by parliament of the terms she struck with the other 27 nations last year have forced Britain to miss the original March 29 departure date and plead for more time.
May is now paying the price for failing to deliver on the wishes of voters who chose by a narrow margin in 2016 to break their uneasy four-decade involvement in the European integration project.
Her Conservatives are set to get thumped in European Parliament elections Thursday in which the brand new Brexit Party of anti-EU populist Nigel Farage is running away with the polls.
Anxious members of May’s party were meeting behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss changes to the rules that would let them vote no-confidence in her leadership in the days to come.
May has already promised to step down no matter the outcome of her fourth attempt to ram her version of Brexit through parliament in early June.
But even that sacrifice — and a package of sweeteners unveiled Wednesday that included a chance for lawmakers to get a second Brexit referendum — failed to win hearts and minds.
“It’s time for the prime minister to go,” Ian Blackford of the pro-EU Scottish National Party told May as she tried to defend her latest proposals in parliament.
“Will she do it?”
May ignored the question and called the upcoming vote Britain’s last chance to leave the EU with a negotiated deal that can avert economic chaos.
“There are people who tell me I have compromised too much in the package being put forward, others telling me I have not compromised enough in the package being put forward,” she said with a note of exasperation in her voice.
“At some stage the House has to come together and we have to decide to go the distance together in order to deliver Brexit.”