Years after being ousted from office, former British PM Theresa May took a fresh potshot at her longstanding Tory nemesis and successor Boris Johnson, saying Johnson struck a “bad deal” to exit the EU.
May was replaced as prime minister by Johnson in July 2019 after months of fruitlesss attempts to pass a Brexit withdrawal agreement that could command the support of the House of Commons.
But she argued in a series of interviews aimed at promoting a new book that the U.K. would be better off if Tory MPs had jut accepted her agreement and moved on.
“It wouldn’t have given either side 100 per cent of what they wanted but it would have given the country a better overall deal,” May told the BBC.
Now a backbench MP, May was replaced by Johnson, who in 2019 struck a new EU deal that eventually passed following a landslide general election victory. That election gifted Brexiteer Tories a big enough majority to break the deadlock.
But key aspects of the agreement — in particular its rules on Northern Ireland trade — have had to be overhauled since Johnson himself was booted out by angry Conservative MPs in 2021.
In a separate interview with LBC, May said Johnson’s agreement, which included the much-contested Northern Ireland protocol, was a “bad deal.”
“I had always said that the deal that he accepted, with that border down the Irish Sea, could not be accepted by in my view by any U.K. prime minister, because of the separation between Great Britain and Northern Ireland that it created,” she said.
“But he accepted what the EU had actually proposed in the first place, and then claimed it was a great victory.
“And on the back of that, of course, he was able to say he’d done Brexit — and on the back of aiming to get Brexit, he was able to get the very good election results,” May added.