Johnson ‘Right to Step down’ as Foreign Secretary, May Says, ‘a Little Surprised’
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has declared that her already former Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, is right to resign as he is seemingly unable to provide the needed support for a Brexit deal with the EU.
Both high profile resignations have come after at the end of last week Prime Minister May got the Cabinet to back her Brexit plan which stipulates “a free trade for goods” of the UK and the EU, while excluding the vast British services sector.
In her response to Johnson’s letter of resignation, May stated that she was “sorry – and a little surprised” since he had supported her Brexit plan on Friday.
Following are excerpts from Theresa May’s reply to Johnson’s letter of resignation:
“I am sorry – and a little surprised – to receive it after the productive discussions we had at Chequers on Friday, and the comprehensive and detailed proposal which we agreed as a Cabinet. It is a proposal which will honour the result of the referendum and the commitments we made in our general election manifesto to leave the single market and the customs union…
It will mean that we take back control of our borders, our laws, and our money – ending the freedom of movement, ending the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, and ending the days of sending vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the European Union. We will be able to spend that money on our priorities instead – such as the £20 billion increase we have announced for the NHS budget, which means that we will soon be spending an extra £394 million a week on our National Health Service…
As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their individual views. But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down.”
May’s official spokesman made it clear that she would resist any challenges to her post if the required number of 48 Conservative MPs called for a contest, BBC News reports.
On Monday, she attended a meeting of backbench Conservative MPs, many of whom share Mr Johnson’s concerns about her Brexit stance.
After the gathering, however, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he did not think there would be a confidence vote over May.
Also on Monday, in an address to the House of Commons, the British Prime Minister defended her Brexit vision.
“If the EU continues on this course, there is a serious risk it could lead to no deal,” warning that if the EU did not engage with her plan, there was a “serious risk” of the UK leaving in March 2019 without a deal in a “disorderly” manner.
Her Brexit plan stipulates signing a treaty that would commit the UK to “continued harmonization” with EU rules, thus avoiding friction at the UK – EU border, including Northern Ireland.
However, the British Parliament would oversee the UK’s trade policy and have the ability to “choose” to diverge from the EU rules.
While May’s plan would terminate the free movement of people, it would be replaced by a “mobility framework”.
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