While it seems increasingly likely Britain is moving crab-like towards some sort of deal on Brexit by March 29, Mrs May herself is unlikely to long survive its birth
“LIONS led by donkeys” was the bitter charge against First World War generals who marched brave British Tommies against German machine- guns a century ago.
The rebuke was echoed on behalf of 17.4million voters by Tory MP Sir Graham Brady to describe Theresa May’s three miserable years of trench warfare with Brussels.
Brexiteer Brady is the respected chairman of the 1922 Committee of Tory MPs, the legendary “Men in grey suits” who have the power, rarely used, to tell leaders their time is up.
“All too often it has looked as if the establishment has wanted a Brexit that looks shockingly like not leaving at all,” Mr Brady told a Sunday newspaper.
He might have been describing many of those involved in the tortuous Brexit negotiations, but only one name springs to mind.
And it will be Mr Brady’s job to hand her the fabled revolver and glass of whisky when that time comes.
While it seems increasingly likely Britain is moving crab-like towards some sort of deal on Brexit by March 29, Mrs May herself is unlikely to long survive its birth.
The price of “success” will be for the PM to name the day of her departure from Downing Street.
Theresa May will probably have to be dragged kicking and screaming out of No10.
Having negotiated a deal of sorts, she will feel entitled to tie up loose ends and — more importantly for her — block Boris Johnson as her successor.
She is safe from another assassination bid by MPs after seeing off last year’s abortive challenge.
But the mood against her has hardened on all sides.
Nick Timothy, once her closest ally, now reveals the PM was never able to see the economic upside to leaving the EU and saw Brexit as a problem “to be managed”.
Her mantra, “No deal is better than a bad deal”, was meaningless.
She and Chancellor Phil Hammond never intended to prepare our ports, freight terminals, tax centres and border controls for a clean-break Brexit.
The loathed Northern Ireland backstop was a ruse to keep us so closely aligned that we might as well have stayed in a customs union and therefore the EU itself.
From day one, Theresa May was negotiating BRINO — Brexit in Name Only.
Her secretive style even infuriated Remainers such as Amber Rudd, who last week broke Cabinet ranks with her own campaign to stop Brexit.
Influential Times columnist Matthew Parris, a staunch Remainer, ex-Tory MP and former May supporter, says both Remainers and Brexiteers have turned against the PM.
“Theresa May, they tell me, is the Death Star of modern British politics,” Parris says.
“Ideas, beliefs, loyalties, affections, trust, whole careers, real men and women, are sucked into the awful void that is Downing Street — and nothing ever comes out. Only a blank so blank that it screams.”
His bleak imagery will come as no surprise in Westminster, but it explains the tidal wave of ministers who walked out of her Cabinet in exasperation.
To her shame, Amber Rudd and her fellow Ruddites lacked the courage to follow suit last week. Instead, they simply destroyed any last chance of using No Deal as a negotiating card.
“After last week, any association with Amber would be the kiss of death not just in Westminster, but with the party at large,” said a Tory MP.
“She is poison. Everyone wants to leave on March 29 — other than those who don’t want to leave at all.”
That prospect now relies on silver-tongued Geoffrey Cox wangling an escape clause on the Northern Ireland backstop — dubbed “Cox’s codpiece”.