British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quits amid Brexit crisis

Sajid Javid

Image Sajid Javid has only just taken up his role as home secretary

May's proposals for a future European Union relationship after Britain departs from the bloc next March had taken two years of internal government wrangling to agree, but within 48 hours Johnson and Davis had resigned saying they could not back the plans.

Davis is the sixth Cabinet minister to resign from May's government in eight months, following former global development secretary Priti Patel, defence secretary Michael Fallon, her deputy Damian Green, education secretary Justine Greening, and home secretary Amber Rudd.

Davis resigned late on Sunday, saying he was not willing to be a "reluctant conscript" to her plans that were agreed by the whole cabinet on Friday.

The move comes on the eve of a major test for the Prime Minister as she faces first the House of Commons and then a potentially stormy meeting of Tory MPs and peers on Monday. Mr Davis was praised last night by Tory MPs including Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said he would oppose Mrs May's Brexit proposals. That plan is now in tatters and her political future appears uncertain.

"Brexit should be about opportunity and hope", Johnson wrote.

Britain is due to leave the European Union in March. "This is the right Brexit", she said. "I won't be encouraging people to do that, I think it's the wrong thing to do".

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Downing Street confirmed on Monday morning that the PM has appointed 44-year-old housing minister Dominic Raab as the new Brexit Secretary following Davis' resignation on Sunday evening. "I'd have to do something I didn't believe in", he told the BBC.

And yet, unlike me, she still has power.

There is talk of Davis and Johnson becoming great enemies of May and making life impossible for her from the backbenches.

There was a crisis in government, he said, adding: "It is clear this government can not secure a good deal for Britain".

Addressing Parliament on Monday, May told MPs that she and the two ministers were at odds over "the best way of delivering our shared commitment to honoring the result of the referendum".

Mr Johnson said Britain was destined for a "semi Brexit" if the blueprint agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers on Friday is delivered.

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Under her proposal, a treaty would be signed committing the UK to "continued harmonisation" with EU rules - avoiding friction at the UK-EU border, including Northern Ireland.

The resignations came just days after May announced Saturday that she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for a divorce deal with the EU.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Mr Johnson and Mr Davis had abandoned a "sinking ship", shattering the "illusion of unity" initially surrounding the Chequers plan.

"My concern is about the policy rather than the individual", he said.

The UK and the European Union have been negotiating Brexit terms for more than a year now and have been hoping to agree broad aims for their future relationship in October.

The government has battled to find a way of tackling these while maintaining access to European Union markets and avoiding burdensome customs arrangements that could damage businesses, with some leading companies warning they could cut investment or withdraw from Britain in the wake of a no-deal Brexit.

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