Boris Johnson Quits U.K. Government in Blow to Brexit, Theresa May

Clay Curtis
July 9, 2018

Brexiteers leapt on David Davis's resignation to demand that the government take a harder line with Brussels, but opposition parties' accusations of chaos were only strengthened when Boris Johnson quit as foreign secretary at 3pm.

After the hours-long meeting at Chequers, May seemed to have persuaded the most vocal Brexit campaigners in the cabinet, including Davis, to back her plan to press for "a free trade area for goods" with the European Union and maintain close trade ties.

With less than nine months before Britain leaves and just over three before the European Union says it wants a deal, May has been forced to show her cards that she will commit the country to pursuing the closest possible trading ties with the EU.

It follows concerns raised over Theresa May's Brexit plan which she forward at Chequers on Friday.

Numerous party's pro-Brexit wing were incensed when a meeting with her Cabinet at Chequers on Friday produced a manifesto for a much softer Brexit than she had previously proposed.

Prime Minister Theresa May has defended her Brexit plans. May appointed staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker Dominic Raab as the country's new Brexit secretary. Some euroskeptic lawmakers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer such as Johnson, a populist, polarizing figure who has never made a secret of his ambition to be prime minister.

The departures were likely to fuel a noisy rebellion among Conservative Brexit campaigners who say she has betrayed a promise to pursue a clean break.

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She now faces a decision - whether to change her proposal or stick by it, and hope that she can face down the dissenters.

He added that he would not run for the leadership of the Conservative Party in the future.

Only three days ago, May appeared to have agreed on a deal with her fractured Cabinet on the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Monday's move may look dramatic, but Viraj Patel, a currency strategist at Dutch bank ING, says that the drop is not the start of a major downward trend for the pound - for the time being a least.

Asked about a possible leadership challenge given the splits in her government, May smiled and said: "nice try, but I'm getting on with the job of delivering what the British people want".

But Davis had expressed his unease over a compromise plan right up until the eve of the meeting, writing a letter to May describing her proposal to ease trade and give Britain more freedom to set tariffs as "unworkable".

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