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May faces turmoil on all fronts, but her survival as PM likely: experts
Last Updated: 2017-11-15 08:55 | Xinhua
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British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves the EU headquarters after the first day of the two-day EU summit in Brussels, Belgium, early Oct. 20, 2017. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)

British Prime Minister Theresa May witnessed the start of a debate on Tuesday over Britain's crucial bill to pave the way for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union(EU).

With the withdrawal bill facing the challenge of over 400 amendments, and some from her own party members, the coming days and weeks will be a political roller-coaster for May and her minority government.

Rocked by the so-called Westminster sex pest scandal, a looming possibility of a no-confidence vote, the big question being asked Tuesday was how long May can remain as the occupant of 10 Downing Street.

Professor Jon Tonge, a political expert at the University of Liverpool, has charted the fortunes and misfortunes of May since she succeeded former prime ministerDavid Cameronafter the referendum result in June last year when the British population voted to leave the EU.

Tonge told Xinhua: "Theresa May is likely to carry on, not because she is displaying either governing competence or electoral appeal, but because there is no agreement among Conservatives on an obvious successor."

Tonge's view is shared by a number of leading political commentators, suggesting a wager on May's early exit would be a risky gamble.

Andrew Gimson, a contributor to the British political blog Conservative Home, wrote this week that there was no replacement for May, nor an appetite for an election.

He wrote in the Guardian newspaper: "May is in a stronger position than the press is willing to admit. Before the election, her frailties were ignored. Since that time, a narrative of extreme vulnerability has taken hold. Yet she remains in Downing Street, and the loss of two ministers who were found in different ways to have misbehaved does not change the powerful reasons for keeping her there."

Gimson said there was no popular demand for another election, nor was there a popular call for some particular individual to replace her.

"Nor does the Conservative party have a replacement for her in mind," he added.

May's duty, he suggests, is to carry on with an unenviable task, adding: "And since she is a dutiful woman, that is probably what she will do."

Political columnist Steve Richards says Brexit is the bigger threat to May.

"She faces a negotiation of impossible complexity, made more daunting by her misjudged statements early in her leadership. Before the (June snap) election, she was stronger than she realised. After the election she is weak. The wider instability means the Conservatives would be doomed if there were an election, which means that in spite of the paralysis within a government of bewildered powerlessness there will not be an election."

Despite the problems, May is still the most popular leader among the British population.

According to the latest YouGov poll, the proportion of people who think that Theresa May makes the best prime minister has gone up since last month and is now 34 percent. That puts her just ahead of Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party.

David Davis, May's loyal Brexit Secretary, believes his boss won't be booking the furniture removers any time soon.

"The prime minister will be here right through Brexit, to my retirement as it were, until the end of Brexit, and she'll be my boss for that. I'm quite certain of it," said Davis.

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