Theresa May defends Brexit plan after Cabinet departures

Charlene Craig
July 11, 2018

Theresa May is having a tough time holding her government together.

After being the surprise pick as foreign secretary, Mr Johnson's gaffes did not cease.

Like her Conservative predecessors, Theresa May has had the impossible task of balancing the demands of those in her party who want a clean break from the European Union and those who want a close relationship after Brexit.

May is holding a meeting of her new-look cabinet on Tuesday, following a forced reshuffle in the aftermath of the resignations.

His resignation came hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis quit the cabinet.

At the very least, these latest resignations suggest the number of MPs willing to vote against the Chequers deal is growing, increasing the need for May to call on Labour backing for it.

The responsibility for leading the negotiations should now go to an "enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript", he said.

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Under Conservative Party rules, a confidence vote in a leader can be triggered if 48 Conservative lawmakers write a letter requesting one.

Earlier on Monday, Ireland's Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed said that the focus of the Irish government is on Mrs May's engagement with the European Union and dismissed suggestions that Mr Davis' exit from the cabinet will throw the Prime Minister's latest plan into disarray. Theresa May's song, unfortunately, stuck in his throat.

And in an article for The Scotsman today, Ms Sturgeon writes: "After the Davis and Johnson resignations, it is highly questionable whether there is a majority for the Chequers plan as it stands".

Numerous prime minister's supporters believe she would win a contest and cement her authority; but May would face a leadership challenge if she lost, with Johnson among the potential candidates.

Each future Conservative leader must be able to perform their own party balancing act, and the few ambitious enough to seek the opportunity are unable to do so.

The front page of the respected broadsheet Le Monde says Davis Davis "slams the door" behind him on his way out of the Cabinet and inside says his snub to May's Brexit plan "could not have been more violent".

Political observers believe that things have stabilized - for the moment.

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If Mrs May chose to fight, she would need the support of more than 50% of Conservative MPs - now 159 - in the confidence vote to stay in office.

But recent polling figures should provide the Conservatives little comfort: Only 29 percent of Britons polled approve of the government's handling of Brexit.

But former Conservative leader William Hague, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said May´s critics had failed to produce "any credible alternative proposal" and warned that further resignations could put Brexit itself "at risk".

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May is due to address Parliament later on Monday to explain her plan for Britain to adopt European Union rules on goods after Brexit, amid anger from members of Parliament in her own party who want a cleaner break and businesses who say it may still cause economic harm.

He added: "The stance of hard-line Brexiteers is revealing, Boris Johnson's resignation letter to Theresa May in itself reveals actually the degree the type of Brexit he wanted was never going to happen, and he was never really dealing with reality". "He's been very, very nice to me, very supportive".

"I get along with her very well, I have a very good relationship", he said.

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