Battle for leadership: Theresa May’s parting shot at ‘toxic’ politics



07.07.2019 10:37

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The Prime Minister will make a "state of politics" speech to address the rise of populism and the toxic nature of debate, particularly on social media. The speech appears to be a reflec­tion of her frustration that views in Britain and around the world have become more polarised and extreme, which many support­ers believe made it impossible for her to make a viable deal on Brexit. It is understood that the speech is still in its early stages but sources have revealed that Mrs May wants to deliver a final warning before she moves to the backbenches.

It is also under­ stood that there were discussions about including ref­erences to the impact of Donald Trump but this section may be dropped or changed to protect relations between the UK and the US.However, a senior source said: "Ob­viously the PM has already made it clear that she is concerned about the The number the DVLA has drivers' details states has 80,595 in 2017 362,097 so far way political debate is conducted, partic­ularly on the internet."The number of death threats and very personal attacks on politi­cians is something that has troubled her while in office."Another source said: "She wants to address the rise of populism and talk about the way it has changed politics."Mrs May spent yesterday enjoy­ing herself at the Henley Regatta in Oxfordshire. But with just 15 days left as PM, she is keen to reflect on the problems which have bedevilled her government.The failure to deliver Brexit and find a compromise which Parliament could accept eventually signalled the end for Mrs May as positions further hardened over the issue.The popular anger at the failure to leave the EU on March 29, despite promising it would happen 108 times, fuelled popular support for the Brexit Party.

The rise of that party has alarmed many Tories, with long-term mem­bers who feel betrayed over leaving the EU quitting for Nigel Farage's political movement.His success forced the Tories into a humiliating fifth place in the European Parliament election and threatens a permanent collapse in Conservative support.The resurrection of Mr Farage's career has come at a time when politics around the world is seeing so-­called populist leaders breaking through.In Italy, Matteo Salvini, 46, is deputy prime minister and expects to win the next election on a wave of anti-­EU sentiment and anger over immigration.Meanwhile, in France, President Macron's unpopu­larity opened the door for rightwing leader Marine Le Pen, 50, to regain support and lead her party to victory in the recent European election.In India, Narendra Modi, 68, who leads the Bharatiya Janata Party, has just won a second landslide victory on a Hindu nationalist ticket.

In Britain, there has been concern at left-­wing extremism which has taken over Labour, along with a stream of anti-­Semitism among supporters of leader Jeremy Corbyn. There has also been an increase in support for far-­right figures such as extremist Tommy Robinson, who on Friday was cheered by supporters after he was found guilty of con­tempt of court by broadcasting details of a trial of grooming gangs.Last month, Mrs May made her concerns about discourse and lack of control online clear again when she pressed world leaders to force content to be removed.Ahead of the G20 meeting in Osaka in Japan, she warned that it is only through "international co­ operation and compromise that we can protect our citizens' security".During her time in office a number of MPs have suffered death threats in the wake of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-­right activist.Downing Street refused to comment.


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