Easter 2017, the Prime Minister is enjoying one of the longest honeymoon periods in recent political history, the polls put her party 15-20 per cent ahead of the opposition and she has a scheduled walking holiday over the weekend. For Theresa May, this was a position most leaders dream out.
I will always vividly remember the 18th April 2017, I had been in Westminster and in my first day of work experience as a parliamentary assistant for my local MP. An hour and a half in, the general election was called, and I could not believe my luck.
The rest of the story is very well known: the Conservatives lost their majority, the two parties are neck and neck in the polls, Theresa May’s personal popularity plummeted and Jeremy Corbyn’s rose.
This past year had been a rollercoaster, the Government and the Prime Minister has had to deal with some of the biggest stories in recent times: The Grenfell Tower Disaster, A series of terror attacks and of course the Brexit negotiations.
Back in June 2017, journalists though the Prime Minister would resign within weeks, her hold on power was weak and her now minority government could rebel at any time. Yet as the weeks turned into months, the Prime Minister has battled on, against all odds.
Her USP is her stamina and ability to carry on despite the political turmoil around her. Even over the past year, she had rarely lost a preferred Prime Minister Poll against Jeremy Corbyn.
This month, I believe we have seen a turning point in the Prime Minister’s fortunes. Domestically and internationally, she has made headlines for all the right reasons.
Her pragmatic and appropriate response to the awful poisoning in Salisbury was commended across all parties and sides of the house. The support from around the world, and especially the recent diplomatic expulsions, clearly improves her international standing as a strong leader as well as someone who can condemn states when they encroach on what is internationally accepted. Russia is a realist state, their foreign policy is based from a view that the international system is in anarchy and states must protect their own interests and look after themselves. The Prime Minister’s response and that fact she is not going to be drawn into tit-for-tat responses with Russia is the only acceptable way to deal with them.
Could “Strong, Stable Leadership” be making a come back?
In addition, just this week, the continuing Brexit negotiations have been approved by the European Council to move on to the future trade deals between the UK and the EU. This gives us a certain leave date and transition deal and means we can start to arrange (although not implement) trade deals with other countries before we officially leave. Although there is disappointment over the settlement for the fishing industry during the transition period, as a leave voter, I see it as the less of two evils and a concession for the bigger picture.
Finally, over the past week we have had very good news on the recovering economy. Employment is still at a joint record high and the country’s finances are the best they have been for a decade. The most important piece of news is the decline in inflation and the rise in wages, which will help to alleviate the squeeze on finances many people have suffered in the past few years.
Meanwhile, Labour are embroiled in bitter public disputes over anti-Semitism, a hat, a mural and most recently the sacking of Owen Smith from the Shadow Cabinet for expressing a view that everyone knew he has held for a long time.
All in all, her position is going from strength to strength. This is reflected in the polls, which have given the Conservatives a lead over the past fortnight, with a high of 44 per cent in the latest ICM Poll, the highest since before the General Election. Whether this will play out in the upcoming local elections is another story, I highly doubt that it will be a good night for the party in the cities like London.