At the time of writing this, Theresa May was still the Prime Minister, hanging on to the office by the skin of her teeth. Personally, I don’t have much regard for May’s political decisions or her track record over the years, not in her role as Home Secretary nor since she became Prime Minister in 2016. Nevertheless, I have come to admire her conduct in recent weeks and particularly over the last seven days, since the publication of the draft agreement on UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For me, she has displayed unwavering resilience and stamina in the face of staggering pressure, which are undeniably two of the key qualities that a successful politician must possess.

Many would say that shrewdness is another. Following Dominic Raab’s resignation as Brexit Secretary last week and using the benefit of hindsight, I have wondered if May only ever gave him the job of as a way of keeping an enemy close. After all, he appeared to be immediately sidelined upon taking on the role in July following David Davis’ resignation, with May deciding that she would take personal control of the negotiations. It was a bizarre move to many at the time. Now, the cynic in me wonders if perhaps there was a method in May’s madness, considering that Raab is now clearly performing his own political manoeuvers towards a leadership bid. If indeed May does possess buckets of insight, she lacks just as much in charisma. A serious politician, she comes across as awkward, uneasy, and has been accused in the past of lacking warmth. She definitely doesn’t have the flair of a confident, fluent performer, often becoming flustered during interviews with a wavering voice that suggests she either doesn’t hold the conviction for the point she’s talking about or is way in over her head. When she attempts to show a less serious side, it comes across as embarrassing and is rarely anything other than uncomfortable to watch. This is why, watching and listening to her across various platforms over the last week has left me amazed. Regardless of what’s been thrown at her and in spite of the vitriolic, personal attacks from members of her own party, she has remained focused on the job at hand and pressed on, dogged in her determination to see the UK leave Europe on 29 March next year.

Perhaps more importantly, what’s become clear is that May seems to be the only politician who understands how to deliver the kind of Brexit that a majority of the electorate voted for, whilst also simultaneously protecting the union – for the moment at least – and ensuring there is no hard border on the island of Ireland. She is firm on her desire to deliver on the Brexit vote, but says she also wants to maintain a good trading relationship with the European Union, as well as providing a secure backstop for the people of Northern Ireland ensuring that there will be no hard border. And like it or loathe it, the deal does appear to meet all the criteria.

I don’t believe it’s in the best interests of the UK to leave the EU, and I don’t believe the deal is as beneficial as remaining part of the EU, but I do have some understanding of May’s strong and ever present will to honour the 2016 result.

While it’s true that people voted to leave the EU for a mixture of reasons, the overarching one was to control immigration and limit the number of people entering the UK. Taking back control of the UK’s borders was the common theme throughout the election campaign and indeed remains so. Whether the plans for the movement of people, as set out in the 585-page withdrawal agreement, actually stick in the long term, is yet to be seen. You see that’s the thing with Brexit. I don’t think there’s any deal that’s completely deliverable. But with the plan currently on the table awaiting Parliament’s approval, May does appear to have found a way to placate the electorate without driving the UK completely off a cliff edge. The real challenge of course is satisfying Parliament. But for now at least, she survives another day.