Theresa May’s formidable resilience in the face of her Tory colleagues’ plots and jibes has long been the source of grudging admiration among even her fiercest critics.
Heather Stewart, The Guardian’s Political Editor writes “this week’s political endurance test was extraordinary by any standards.”
Within the space of little more than 48 hours, she sat through a fractious five-hour cabinet meeting at which Brexit-backing ministers queued up to have their gripes recorded for posterity, as well as suffering two cabinet resignations and facing three hours of hostile questioning, much of it from her own side, in the Commons.
She had barely sat down when double-breasted renegade Jacob Rees-Mogg addressed a scrum of lobby journalists to signal his intention of trying to trigger a leadership challenge against her.
Yet later that afternoon, there she was, behind a podium in the wood-panelled room upstairs in No 10 Downing Street, comparing herself to her dull-but-reliable cricketing hero, Geoffrey Boycott, who “stuck to it and got the runs in the end”.
“Having worked with her, she’s one of those people who perform best in adversity,” says Chris Wilkins, who was director of strategy during May’s first 12 months in Downing Street.
“I think she also feels at the moment that she’s come so far with this, and she’s been through everything she’s been through, and it’s made her all the more determined to see it through.”