May Fights to Contain Brexit Crisis After Key Ministers Quit

Prime Minister Theresa May battled to stave off a full-blown crisis after three ministers quit within 24 hours to protest her Brexit plan.

The resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the face of the campaign to leave the European Union in 2016, compounded the chaos in government following the departures of Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy late Sunday. May’s statement to Parliament on Brexit, which was meant to crown a rare compromise deal reached with her divided Cabinet on Friday, was turned into a two-hour defense of her policy of seeking a softer divorce from the EU.

But the immediate danger appeared to have receded as pro-Brexit lawmakers held back from calling May to go, emphasizing instead the need for a new policy. Graham Brady, head of the Conservative Party committee that handles the procedures for leadership challenges, also indicated he hadn’t received enough signatures to trigger a confidence vote in the prime minister.

“If the threshold were to be reached, at some point it would be incumbent on me to make arrangements for a vote of confidence,” Brady told Bloomberg. “People would know fairly quickly.”

Challenge

In the House of Commons, May twice batted away the question of whether she would fight a leadership challenge, and denied her Brexit proposal — which she said would protect the economy — was a betrayal of the referendum result.

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The resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the face of the campaign to leave the European Union in 2016, compounded the chaos in government following the departures of Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy late Sunday. May’s statement to Parliament on Brexit, which was meant to crown a rare compromise deal reached with her divided Cabinet on Friday, was turned into a two-hour defense of her policy of seeking a softer divorce from the EU.

But the immediate danger appeared to have receded as pro-Brexit lawmakers held back from calling May to go, emphasizing instead the need for a new policy. Graham Brady, head of the Conservative Party committee that handles the procedures for leadership challenges, also indicated he hadn’t received enough signatures to trigger a confidence vote in the prime minister.

“If the threshold were to be reached, at some point it would be incumbent on me to make arrangements for a vote of confidence,” Brady told Bloomberg. “People would know fairly quickly.”

Challenge

In the House of Commons, May twice batted away the question of whether she would fight a leadership challenge, and denied her Brexit proposal — which she said would protect the economy — was a betrayal of the referendum result.

Read full article