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British foreign secretary quits in protest over May's Brexit plan

After quitting, Johnson says Brexit 'dream is dying'

Image Credit: Agency
Boris Johnson

London: After quitting, UK's Boris Johnson says Brexit 'dream is dying'. 

Now  Johnson has slammed Prime Minister Theresa May in a resignation letter, accusing her of flying "white flags" of surrender in negotiations with the European Union.

Johnson, one of the most vocal and popular proponents of Britain's exit from the European Union, quit as Britain's top diplomat on Monday. His move came hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis also resigned, blowing open divisions over how to leave the EU that threaten to topple May's government.

Johnson said in his letter that May's plan to keep close economic ties with the bloc means the UK is heading for a "semi-Brexit" that would leave Britain with the "status of colony" within the EU.

He said: "The Brexit dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt "

May's supporters worry that more ministers could resign, and pro-Brexit lawmakers from her Conservative Party could trigger a no-confidence vote in the prime minister.

 

Earlier, May said that Britain will not hold a referendum on the final deal to leave the EU or seek to delay its exit date.

May said that Britain would not look to extend Article 50, the notice of intention to leave the EU, and that British people wanted the government to deliver Brexit rather than voting again on the deal.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but May's bid to finalise a strategy was rocked on Monday by the resignations of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis in protest at her plan for Brexit.

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".

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to name a new foreign minister later on Monday, her spokesman said, after the former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned in protest at her plans to retain close ties to the European Union after Brexit.

Asked whether May would contest any vote on a confidence motion in her leadership, her spokesman said: "Yes."

Johnson's was the second resignation in a day leaving the British leader's Brexit plans all but in tatters.

After a day when the foreign secretary cancelled meetings for crisis talks at his official residence in central London, Johnson decided to walk from his job - just hours after May's Brexit minister David Davis did the same in protest at her plans.

The two resignations leave May badly exposed at the top of a government unable to unite over Britain's biggest foreign and trading policy shift in almost half a decade.

It also puts a question mark over whether the leader will try to weather it and stand firm in her commitment to pursue a "business friendly" Brexit, or will be faced with more resignations and calls to quit herself.

"This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary," May's spokesman said in a statement. "His replacement will be announced shortly. The Prime Minister thanks Boris for his work."

The departures raise the stakes for May, who secured a hard-won agreement with her deeply divided cabinet of ministers on Friday to keep the closest possible trading ties with the EU.

Many eurosceptics are angry, saying the agreed strategy betrays her promise for a clean break with the EU, raising the prospect that some could try to unseat her.

Trump to go ahead with UK visit as planned: White House
Washington: US President Donald Trump is maintaining his planned four-day visit to Britain later this week, the White House said Monday, as Theresa May's government was plunged into turmoil by two shock cabinet resignations.
"The president continues to look forward to his working visit with the prime minister on July 13, and further strengthening the US-UK special relationship," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters. May's government imploded Monday as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson followed Brexit minister David Davis in resigning over the prime minister's master plan for Britain's future outside the European Union. 
Earlier, May said trade was on the agenda of her meet with the US President.-AFP

 

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