Faces of Brexit

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Effects

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In pictures

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Surprising resilience against the odds

British Prime Minister Theresa May and her country's decision to leave the European Union have become the butt of satirical humor even in Germany, as can be seen here by a float that featured in a Carnival procession in the western city of Mainz. But so far, she has stayed in power despite seemingly overwhelming odds.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Taking the reins amidst Brexit turmoil

Theresa May won the leadership struggle to become prime minister in July 2016, after David Cameron resigned over the Brexit vote. Outside 10 Downing Street, May pledged to fight against the "burning injustice" inflicted on the poor and discriminated minorities.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Tories close ranks behind May

By the time of the Tory party conference in October 2016, May appeared to be firmly in control. She claimed her government had a "plan" for Brexit. She still commanded the absolute majority in the UK parliament inherited from David Cameron. May repeatedly ruled out another election.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Strong and stable

In April 2017, however, May pulled a U-turn and demanded a snap vote to supply her with a clear Brexit mandate. The campaign relied heavily on Theresa May's perceived popularity and the "strong and stable" slogan in the contest against Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Coming up short

The June vote showed that May and her team had severely miscalculated: The Tories lost their absolute majority and were forced to make a deal with the far-right Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to stay in power.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Running out of friends

Following the election, senior Tory members reportedly pressured May to fire two of her closest aides, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, or face a leadership challenge. The two allegedly mismanaged the campaign and threated Cabinet members in a "rude, abusive" way, according to some officials. May complied and cut ties with the pair.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Deadly Grenfell Tower fire

Less than a week after the election, Prime Minister May faced a deadly catastrophe in London: A fire in the Grenfell Tower apartment block claimed 71 lives, with many alleging that the blaze showed the Tories' disregard for the living conditions of the poor. May was booed by protesters while visiting the scene.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Choking on the British Dream

May envisioned her party conference speech in October 2017 as a rallying cry to unite the country and reassert her leadership. But the event did not go according to plan. While giving her speech, May's voice repeatedly cracked and she suffered multiple coughing fits.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Patel goes, Rudd goes, Fallon goes

May also had to deal scandals involving several senior Cabinet members. In November 2017, Development Secretary Priti Patel was forced to leave after secretly talking with Israeli representatives about military aid. Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon stepped down days earlier over misconduct allegations. And Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigned in April 2018 amid outrage over the Windrush affair.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Boris Johnson and David Davis go into open rebellion

All previous Cabinet troubles paled in comparison to the departures of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit Secretary David Davis in July 2018. The two rebelled against May's Brexit plan, claiming she was kowtowing to the EU.

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

Donald Trump: May 'didn't listen to me'

A visit from US President Donald Trump seemed to further undermine the British prime minister. Trump told British media that May's Brexit plans were not "what the people voted on." Trump added that "I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn't agree, she didn't listen to me."

Is there a storm strong enough to sink Theresa May?

May stays in the saddle, somehow

For many months, global media outlets (including DW) have speculated about May losing power. So far, however, she has managed to prove her doomsayers wrong. Still, polls in July 2018 showed her approval ratings at a record low: Only 30 percent approve of her as prime minister and only 22 percent are happy with the government.

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