Theresa May is fighting for her political life today after Boris Johnson accused her of killing Brexit and his allies backed him to be a ‘brilliant’ PM.
Mr Johnson used his decision to quit as Foreign Secretary to declare war on her Chequers plan for leaving the EU.
Warning that the UK was heading for colonial status, he said the Brexit dream was ‘dying – suffocated by self-doubt’.
He claimed Mrs May was sending negotiators ‘into battle with the white flags fluttering above them’ and surrendering control to Brussels. Following a chaotic day of resignations and rumours, Downing Street is now braced for a potential leadership challenge, reports The Guardian.
Sources insisted the Prime Minister would stand and fight for the national interest while her allies derided Mr Johnson, saying he offered no solutions on Brexit.
Boris also faced criticism in many quarters for taking the time to stage the photos of himself signing the resignation letter and was branded a ‘poundshop Churchill’.
In a reference to his decision to resign only after David Davis had quit as Brexit Secretary on Sunday night, one May loyalist said: ‘There’s not much honour in being second over the top.’
Mrs May also swiftly reshuffled her cabinet, bringing in Jeremy Hunt from Health to replace Boris as Foreign Secretary and Dominic Raab to replace Mr Davis.
But, in a significant intervention, Jacob Rees-Mogg last night backed Mr Johnson, saying he would make a ‘brilliant’ prime minister.
One MP told the 1922 Committee that Mrs May had orchestrated a ‘Remain coup’ at Chequers on Friday. All four ‘great offices of state’ are now held by those who campaigned for Remain.
Friends of Mr Johnson, whose aide Conor Burns also resigned, were tight-lipped last night about his next move. But his resignation letter offered no support for Mrs May and, unlike Mr Davis, he did not urge MPs to back her.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid was among those to praise Mr Johnson yesterday, saying he would miss his ‘Reaganesque optimism and passion for global Britain’.
On a day of turmoil at Westminster:
Eurosceptic MPs said more ministers would resign unless Mrs May backs down and abandons her Chequers plan;
It was rumoured the Eurosceptics are close to gathering the 48 names needed to force a vote of confidence in Mrs May;
Mr Davis stepped up his attack on Mrs May’s tactics, saying ‘we are giving too much away too easily – and that is a dangerous strategy’;
Steve Baker, who quit as Brexit minister, said the Establishment was trying to block Brexit;
Jeremy Hunt took over as Foreign Secretary, while Matt Hancock succeeded him as Health and Social Care Secretary;
Mr Davis’s former chief of staff Dominic Raab replaced him as Brexit Secretary;
Downing Street was forced to deny that Mrs May will offer ‘preferential’ access to the UK jobs market to EU citizens;
No 10 admitted that the customs arrangements signed off at Chequers may not be fully ready before the next election in 2022;
Mrs May told Tory MPs they had a duty to stick together to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of Downing Street.
In the Commons pro-Remain Tories, including Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, backed Mrs May. But the Prime Minister faced direct challenges from a string of Eurosceptic Tories.
Mr Rees-Mogg said her Brexit promises ‘have been watered down to the point that we are, or would be, in a semi-suspended state of membership of the European Union’.
He said the Cabinet resignations ‘really undermine the credibility of what was agreed at Chequers’.
Andrea Jenkyns, who quit the government to speak out on Brexit last month, said she would be writing a letter of no-confidence in Mrs May.
She said Mrs May’s premiership ‘is over… there’s a feeling we need a PM who believes in Brexit’.
Senior Conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin warned there had been a ‘massive haemorrhage of trust’ as a result of the direction the PM was taking and said it ‘may well come’ to a vote over her leadership.
In the Commons, Peter Bone accused Mrs May of betrayal. Mr Bone, who faced cries of ‘shame’, told the PM that activists in his Wellingborough constituency were questioning why they were still campaigning for the party.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 10th, 2018