Boris Johnson quits as UK’s May faces mounting Brexit crisis
LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May dug in her heels Monday after the resignation of two top government ministers over Brexit negotiations whipped up a storm that threatened to topple her fragile minority government
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quit with a resignation letter accusing May of flying “white flags” of surrender in negotiations with the European Union. He said “the Brexit dream is dying, suffocated by needless self doubt “
Johnson followed Brexit Secretary David Davis out the door as a hard-won government consensus on future trade ties with the bloc disintegrated less than three days after it was forged, and nine months before Britain is due to leave the EU.
Davis resigned late Sunday, saying May’s plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU gave “too much away, too easily.”
If Davis’s resignation rattled May, Johnson’s shook the foundations of her government. The tousle-headed blond Johnson is one of Britain’s best-known politicians, and one of the most prominent advocates for Brexit. Some euroskeptic lawmakers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer such as Johnson, a populist, polarizing figure who has never made a secret of his ambition to be prime minister.
With Britain due to leave the currently 28-nation bloc on March 29, 2019, EU officials have warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a deal spelling out the terms of the divorce and a post-split relationship.
Minutes after Johnson quit, May defended her Brexit plan to lawmakers in the House of Commons, with Johnson absent from his usual place on the Conservative front bench.
She said she and the two departed ministers “do not agree about the best way of delivering our shared commitment to honoring the result of the referendum” in which U.K. voters opted to leave the EU.
May’s plan seeks to keep the U.K. and the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.