Monday, 22 April, 2019

UK's May names loyalist Jeremy Hunt as foreign secretary

Jack Taylor  Getty Images David Davis Jack Taylor Getty Images David Davis
Jeannette Daniel | 10 July, 2018, 11:34

"It requires [EU leaders] to think again and look beyond the positions they have taken so far and agree on a fair balance of rights and obligations", she told MPs.

However critics, including Mr Davis, felt that it meant that the plan would tie the United Kingdom too closely to European Union decision-making in the future, and would give the United Kingdom parliament only "illusory" powers.

On Monday, minutes after Johnson quit, May defended her Brexit plan to lawmakers in the House of Commons - with Johnson absent from his usual place on the Conservative front bench. He said "the Brexit dream is dying, suffocated by needless self doubt".

He said: "It is on the edge of what we can support, but it does just meet the test of what people were voting for in 2016".

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to assembled guests, as she hosts a reception to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, at 10 Downing Street, in central London on July 4, 2018.

May told Parliament in a heated session that her plan was "not a betrayal" of the referendum vote.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a key Eurosceptic figure in the ruling Conservative party, said Mr Davis's resignation was "very important that he has given great reassurance to backbench MPs" who opposed the Chequers agreement.

Davis had earlier called May's plan risky and said it would give "too much away, too easily" to European Union negotiators. "But so many times since this Brexit process began, we've had to ask ourselves: will she stay or will she go?"

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"This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary", a statement from Downing Street said.

'We have Michael Gove at Evens as the favourite to replace Boris Johnson ahead of Chris Grayling at 3/1 and Liam Fox at 12/1, while Theresa May's own odds of announcing her resignation by the end of the week are now at 5/1. In his letter to the prime minister explaining his decision, Mr Davis said he felt it was "less and less likely" that Britain would leave the customs union and the single market, articles of faith for Brexiteers.

But as Foreign Secretary in May's government, he was prone to gaffes and criticized for not being on top of his brief.

Opposition politicians were quick to capitalize on May's troubles.

"Two secretaries of state have resigned and still we are no clearer as to what our future relationship with our nearest neighbors and biggest trading partners will be". Her party is divided into hard-and-soft Brexit factions and she has the impossible task of keeping them on the same page.

But in reality, she will be at the mercy of her party.

May reached an agreement on the Brexit deal with senior ministers during an all-day summit at Chequers on Friday. Yet if Brexit is to mean anything, it must surely give Ministers and Parliament the chance to do things differently to protect the public.

A far more familiar face here is Olly Robbins, the prime minister's Europe adviser.

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