May promises orderly Brexit amid more resignations, confidence vote calls

Erika Holt
July 13, 2018

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis on Monday quit in protest at the plan stirring talk of a leadership challenge and sending sterling tumbling more than a cent. "There was always going to be a moment in time that was needed for the British Prime Minister to show her authority because she had a very divided cabinet on her approach to Brexit", he said.

May appointed staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker Dominic Raab as the country's new Brexit secretary.Many pro-Brexit lawmakers were furious at what they saw as a sell-out of the clean Brexit they desire.

He told the Today programme: "If the Prime Minister thinks she has consent and support from every member of her Cabinet she is deluding herself, as we have just seen".

May's botched bet on a snap election in June 2017 lost her party its majority in parliament so her government is now reliant on a small northern Irish political party.

The White Paper, reportedly delayed for several months amid disagreements between ministers, was finally approved by Theresa May's cabinet at her country residence, Chequers, last week.

The EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, has insisted the proposals must be workable.

Her spokesman said she had welcomed the new members of her cabinet and they had discussed the publication of a white paper policy document on Britain's future ties with the European Union and stepping up preparations for any no-deal outcome to the negotiations with Brussels.

"We need to rise to the challenge and grasp the opportunities" of Brexit, said Raab, adding that the policy represented a "balance".

This was too close to the European Union for "Hard Brexiteers" such as David Davis - as many in her party have made clear in the days since and the likes of Johnson, who campaigned for Brexit and has been one of its most passionate cheerleaders since.

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He said May was an "amazing leader at this point where she has a fragile leadership, and being able to get through these issues the way she has is an example of strong leadership".

In a scathing resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Johnson said that, under her leadership, the United Kingdom was "heading for a semi-Brexit", with the dream of an outward-looking global Britain "dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt".

"It is the ultimate betrayal of our democracy and people's belief in it".

The British government released detailed plans Thursday for what it calls a "principled pragmatic and ambitious" Brexit - plans that have already triggered the resignation of two top ministers, and which face likely resistance from the European Union.

Sky News has been told that Brexiteers have "plenty more in the locker" as they seek to "inflict as much damage as possible" on Mrs May and try to force her to change course. The UK has spoken of boosting the Commonwealth and forging a free trade pact with India after Brexit, but that will not be easy if Britain refuses to budge from its tough position on movement of people and visas. But within 48 hours Davis had quit, saying she had already given too much away to the European Union, and Johnson followed.

"Productive cabinet meeting this morning - looking ahead to a busy week", May said on Twitter, as the resignations of Johnson and Davis sent shockwaves through Westminster and fuelled speculation that the turmoil could eventually topple her.

Boris Johnson has launched a scathing attack on Theresa May's Brexit strategy, saying the "dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt".

Virendra Sharma, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for another referendum, said that a "gang of Brexit bullies are threatening to pull the plug on the prime minister".

Mrs May wrote in The Sun the plan was the only one which "truly respects the will of the British people".

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