THE POLITICAL fall out in the wake of Britain’s Brexit could have come straight from the Stratford stage – with the town’s own MP a player.
An extraordinary week in British politics has seen comparisons to the work of Shakespeare. Commentators at Westminster have been talking of the ambitions, rivalries and duplicitous double-dealing as Richard III and Julius Caesar meets Scarface and The Godfather.
Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi had publicly given his backing to former London Mayor Boris Johnson to take over from David Cameron as leader and Prime Minister. Pro Brexit Mr Zahawi wrote a lengthy article for the Daily Telegraph championing the merits of the leading Leave campaigner for the job.
But all changed when Mr Johnson shocked many at a London press conference – billed as his campaign launch and attended by Mr Zahawi – at which he ruled himself out saying he did not believe he could provide the leadership or unity needed for the Conservative Party and the country.
It came shortly after what has been described as Michael Gove’s “Et-tu Brute?” moment when the Justice Secretary, who
had been expected to support the bid of his pro Brexit colleague, declared he now wanted to be Prime Minister, and launched a scathing attack on Mr Johnson’s lack of credentials for the post.
Mr Zahawi now says he will now be backing Home Secretary Theresa May, who is one of five candidates who have joined the race.
Mr Zahawi said: “The last week has been one of the longest that politics has seen in decades; crammed full of events and swollen with unpredictability.
“Having spent the last few months campaigning to leave the European Union with Boris Johnson, and having seen him connect with members of the public, I was happy to support his bid for leader. I absolutely believed he was the one to do it. I was excited to see him start to work on putting together a good deal with our European friends and allies, and ensuring that this was a beneficial outcome for everyone in our country. I was also determined not to allow a rewriting of history; the wishes of 17million voters could not be ignored by a leader who was uncommitted to seeing Brexit through.
“It became clear, however, that many of my colleagues did not agree, and Boris took the right and brave decision of announcing that he will not stand. This is a disappointment to those who backed him, but a testament to a man of character, honour and dignity.
“We must now move on. It is a question of who is most the able to continue the important business of Government, while ensuring that the deal we get with the European Union will benefit every family and every region of the United Kingdom.
“I have been convinced by Theresa May that she is the one to deliver. This is a time for experience, and Mrs May has the most of those on offer. Her six years spent as Home Secretary show not just a track record of success, but an impressive resilience and almost unmatched stamina to maintain success through the ups and downs of political life which may have tossed the careers of a less able politician aside.
“I am reassured by Mrs May’s commitment that a prominent Leave voice will handle our negotiations with the European Union, and that a new department will be created to tackle this complex issue and see it through to a positive conclusion.”