Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Brexit, stage right: how Theresa May faced down United Kingdom government rebels

Brexit, stage right: how Theresa May faced down United Kingdom government rebels

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was a "little surprised" by Boris Johnson's resignation as foreign minister, after he had agreed to her new Brexit plan last week, she said in a letter to Johnson on Monday.

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.

"And over the last few days, there is a treasure trove of quotations from senior members of the Government about what they really think about the Government's negotiating position".

Theresa May has moved to shore up her position following the shock resignation of Boris Johnson with the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as the new Foreign Secretary.

Brexit negotiator David Davis suddenly stepped down Monday after failing to secure key concessions from European Union member states after the UK's withdrawal.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a strong supported of the campaign, said: "Brexit is turning into an unholy and undeliverable mess".

When asked if he knew how many letters had been sent to Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Graham Brady, Rees-Mogg said: "No I don't, I have no idea, Sir Graham Brady has made it very clear that he will not give anybody any indication of how many letters he has received".

"But the popular will, as manifested in surveys of public opinion, suggest that at present about 70 percent of the public judge that the Government is handling the Brexit negotiations badly, and it's been on a declining trend pretty much for the past year".

Certainly not what would be needed to make Theresa May's proposed third way for Brexit work as she now presents it.

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Hunt, who had been the health secretary, is considered one of May's most loyal ministers.

The then-foreign secretary had another head-in-hands moment in May when he was tricked into taking part in an 18-minute phone call with a prankster pretending to be the Armenian prime minister.

He said Britain was heading for "a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the European Union system, but with no United Kingdom control over that system".

Johnson quit Monday with an incendiary letter accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" and flying "white flags" of surrender in negotiations with the European Union.

"If we don't pull together, we risk the election of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister", one cabinet minister said, summarising what was said at the meeting.

This is a possibility, particularly now Mr Johnson has followed Mr Davis out of the door.

The New Statesman says Leadsom is also "in with a shout" for the leadership, but the Daily Mirror points out that her failed bid to beat May in 2016 could damage her chances.

"And it would be a split coming from the top, not from the members of the Conservative Party across the country". In 1958, the chancellor of the exchequer and two junior ministers resigned in protest at increased government spending.

Other pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers said they supported May and would not resign.

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