Theresa May has been dealt several blows to her plans for Brexit in recent days and this has led to mounting pressure on the PM to remain within the customs union at the very least. However, if she were to U-turn on this decision, there is a chance it could lead to a leadership challenge. But there is significant conjecture to suggest that ambitious Conservatives may not challenge Mrs May and her position is relatively safe.

The House of Lords have been busy in the last 7 days as they have blocked the withdrawal bill so far but last night they voted in favour of some amendments to be made to the bill or 3 occasions.

What has been deemed necessary by the Lords.

Brexit means…?

They include votes in favour of the bill including the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (ECFR), the Charter protects the political, social and economic rights of every EU citizen. They also lost other votes that could have given ministers the power to restrict when citizens could use principles of EU law to challenge the Government. Prior to the votes on Monday evening, the peers also passed an amendment calling on ministers to negotiate a post-Brexit customs union with the EU and they voted to limit the use of secondary legislation that could be used to transpose EU workers and consumer rights on to the UK statute book. The changes made by the laws will have to be passed by MPs in the Commons but this is a blow to Theresa May.

The government are expected to table amendments on Wednesday that relate to the devolved powers, this could provoke a revolt in early May when it is due to come to a vote. The defeats also came not long after downing street were playing down claims over a split within the government over the customs union. The Express suggested that Theresa May could face a leadership challenge if she U-turns on the customs union.

However, there is an argument against the idea that she could face a leadership challenge, even if she U-turns on the decision over a customs union. Theresa May has taken on a quite frankly thankless task, irrespective of what the government was planning, she had half the population against her from outset. But at the moment, May, who campaigned for remain but is taking a hard-line leave stance in her negotiations, could possibly be the only person who can keep the Conservatives together as a whole party.

Leadership challenge?

The real hard-line leavers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg have been vying for overall control of the party but Mrs May has strategically placed those who campaigned for leave in important positions for Brexit negotiations and remainers working closely with herself. Furthermore, she has constantly had to try and keep the hard-line elements at bay with tough talking on a clean break and the more centre-minded members with talk on negotiating a close relationship with the EU. Furthermore, since her disastrous election call, she has had the fanatics of the DUP to contend with over Northern Ireland, an issue she conjured herself granted but nonetheless, it is something on top of everything else.

If May is challenged to a leadership bid, it risks bringing down the government itself because there are many within the party who would see Jacob Rees-Mogg as a step backwards for them and Boris Johnson, a step off the cliff. There is no one else that has public favourability, although Johnson’s is waning since he has become an MP again. But this puts the party in a quandary because the government have been an omnishambles, especially over Brexit and whilst it is understandably difficult, there has been little coherence thus far and if someone else wants to take the reins, they will have a year to plan what they need to with Brexit and deal with the storm in a teacup that is currently brewing within the government over Windrush and other multiple scandals.