Published: Wed, July 11, 2018

Theresa May promises orderly Brexit amid more resignations, confidence vote calls

Theresa May promises orderly Brexit amid more resignations, confidence vote calls

Lord Hague warned "Tory MPs with their pens hovering over letters" that the chances of such a challenge leading to the Brexit they desire "are about zero".

Former foreign minister Boris Johnson, who wrote in his resignation letter that the Brexit "dream is dying" and that Britain was headed for the "status of colony" of the European Union under May´s leadership, is seen as a potential challenger.

Matt Hancock has been promoted from the Culture department to Health Secretary as the premier digs in for an attritional battle with Eurosceptics.

Zakharova pointed at the resounding failures of Johnson's foreign policy, including the ongoing Skripal saga and the obsession with discovering of the dreaded "hand of Kremlin" in many issues.

Jeremy Hunt, appointed foreign secretary as May carried out a hurried reshuffle of her top team, vowed that he would be "four square" behind her in driving through her Brexit plan.

Under Conservative Party rules, a confidence vote in a leader can be triggered if 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers - now 48 - write a letter requesting one.

The former Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary stepped down from the front bench on Monday after Mrs May's Chequers summit last week which saw ministers agree a "soft Brexit" plan.

The options left would be crashing out with no deal, which parliament will undoubtedly try to block; the collapse of Mrs May's government and another general election; or a broken-backed No 10 asking Brussels for an extension of Article 50, at which point the Conservative party could split.

In the wake of Mr Johnson's resignation on Monday night, members of the European Research Group of Brexiteers and the 1922 backbench committee met at separate gatherings in Westminster.

"They´ll keep going, one by one, until she either junks Chequers or goes", the MP was quoted as saying.

The procedure was last used in 2003 when Iain Duncan Smith was ousted as Tory leader.

"She talked about Corbyn, she talked about the alternative which is delivering the country to the sort of government that I don't think people have voted for and certainly any Conservative voter would be repelled by".

He said Brexiteers need to accept that pursuing a hard Brexit would likely fail to clear the Commons, risk thousands of job losses and threaten peace in Northern Ireland. "Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of all".

He said selling the policy would "stick in the throat" and he could not stand by waving "white flags" of surrender, meaning he had to quit.

His resignation comes just a month after he was heard launching a scathing attack on the government's Brexit strategy in a leaked tape from a private dinner with Conservative activists.

After the cabinet meeting, Mrs May tweeted that she was "looking ahead to a busy week". "So I think that symbolizes how he considers the importance of her leadership in this country right now".

Following Mr Johnson and Mr Davis's resignations, two deputy chairmen of the Conservatives - Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield - quit their posts on Tuesday, claiming the PM's proposals would not harness the benefits of Brexit.

Mr Johnson even proposed a toast to the deal - and suggested writing a joint newspaper column with Chancellor Philip Hammond.

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