Boris Johnson resigns United Kingdom government, becoming second minister who quits over Brexit

Tuesday, 10 Jul, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May selected Jeremy Hunt to replace Boris Johnson as foreign secretary Monday as she sought to re-stabilize her government following a pair of high-profile resignations over Brexit.

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, quit on Monday, hours after the resignation late on Sunday night of the minister in charge of Brexit negotiations, David Davis.

According to BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, Johnson's departure from May's cabinet has turned an "embarrassing and hard situation for the PM into potentially a full-blown crisis".

Earlier, May defended her Brexit plan to lawmakers in the House of Commons, with Johnson absent from his usual place on the Conservative front bench. As I said then, the government now has a song to sing.

Leaving the gathering, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he did not think there would be a confidence vote over Mrs May. "But I'm getting on with delivering what the British people want".

Theresa May only has a majority in Parliament with the support 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.

On Monday morning, the odds for Boris Johnson taking over the role of Prime Minister were 9/1.

The Cabinet minister quit his position, saying "the current trend of policy and tactics" was making it look less and less likely that the government could "deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the customs union and the Single Market".

Johnson reportedly compared the promotion of the plan to "polishing a turd".

Johnson's replacement has not yet been announced, while May replaced Davis with Dominic Raab, the former housing secretary and also a pro-Brexit advocate. "I'd have to do something I didn't believe in", he told the BBC.

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.

May said the plan would deliver frictionless trade with Europe and was the "only way to avoid a hard border" between the U.K.'s Northern Ireland and European Union member Ireland.

Rebuffing claims that her proposals make too many concessions to the EU, May said her "smooth and orderly Brexit" would leave Britain free to make its own laws and trade deals.

Johnson's abrupt departure comes two years after May took charge. Many Tory Brexiteers have criticized this plan as a "soft Brexit" or "Brexit in name only".

The European Commission declined to comment on Mr Davis's exit but Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said he hoped a change in faces might lead to a change in policy.

One other element of Friday's agreement worth noting is that it pledged to speed up preparations for the United Kingdom to be ready to leave the European Union without a Brexit deal in March next year.

"It will show European leaders that Mrs May has taken great risks to establish her stated negotiating position", Garnett told RT.

Labour MP Andrew Adonis said Raab's appointment could spell the "death" of the Tory leader, while writer and editor Hitcham Yezza said Brexit has now become even more "shambolic".