The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May has been plunged into turmoil with the resignation of two senior Cabinet ministers in a deep split over her Brexit strategy.
Boris Johnson, the UK’s clumsy and outspoken Foreign Secretary has announced his resignation just hours after The Duran reported that a top Brexit official, David Davis quit, “over his frustration with a negotiated deal by PM Theresa May for a “soft” UK departure from the European Union.”
The Prime Minister’s latest political drama began late on Sunday night when Davis quit, declaring he could not support May’s Brexit plan. He said it involved too close a relationship with the EU and gave only an illusion of control being returned to the UK after it left the EU. In a BBC radio interview Monday morning, Davis said, “It seems to me we’re giving too much away, too easily, and that’s a dangerous strategy at this time.”
The announcement came after Johnson failed to attend the international Western Balkans Summit in London, which fueled speculation a resignation was forthcoming — fellow attendee Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe, tweeted by early afternoon the gathered were “still waiting for our host.”
We’re still waiting for our host… #WBLondonSummit
— Michael Roth MdB 🇪🇺 (@MiRo_SPD) July 9, 2018
Johnson’s resignation will surely add further fuel to speculation he may be planning a leadership bid, even though Conservative MPs of any stance are yet to publicly call for May’s resignation and/or a leadership election — he told his fellow cabinet ministers last week May’s Brexit proposals amounted to “polishing a turd”.
“The likelihood of him [Johnson] winning an election among MPs may not be very high — while 129 Conservative MPs (51 percent of the parliamentary party) supported ‘leave’ in the June 2016 referendum, many have reservations about Johnson’s hard Brexit vision. Moreover, while Johnson remains very popular with rank and file party members, a leadership contest necessitates a vote of confidence, and May is reportedly willing to fight such a contest.
There are also key differences within ‘leave’ circles over how much the UK should prioritize the national economy, by compromise on key issues such as leaving the remit of the European Court of Justice and ending free movement. Theresa May only has a majority in Parliament with the support in key votes of the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, so any split raises questions about whether her plan could survive a Commons vote — and has also led to renewed questions about whether she will face a challenge to her position.”
The decision by Johnson, a former mayor of London, to back Brexit, was seen as crucial when the issue was taken to a referendum two years ago. He became a leading figure in the “Leave” campaign, but as Foreign Secretary in May’s government, he was prone to embarrassing gaffes and criticized for not being prepared enough.
Deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson stated that “Theresa May’s government is in utter meltdown. The country is at a standstill with a divided and shambolic government. The Prime Minister can’t deliver Brexit and has zero authority left.”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.