May stares down Brexit plan backlash as ministers quit

Tory MPs prepare to mount May leadership push

ReutersTheresa May set for leadership challenge over Brexit stance

Along with that, Germany gave an immediate thumbs down to the latest Brexit proposals.

Johnson spoke for angry Conservative Brexit-backers in his resignation letter to May when he complained that voters weren't going to get the things he'd promised them when he campaigned to leave the EU.

If 48 MPs declare they have no confidence in the Prime Minister, it will trigger a leadership contest.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told talkRADIO earlier today (July 10) that he did not know if any MPs had submitted a vote of no confidence.

Mrs May surprised many by appointing him to the Foreign Office, a position he has frequently used to forge a distinctive position on Brexit, including by setting out his own "red lines" just days before the PM's crucial speech to the Conservative conference a year ago.

In her reply Mrs May said she was sorry, and "a little surprised", at his decision but that if he could not support the Government's position, "it is right that you should step down".

Fellow Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone welcomed Mr Davis's resignation, saying it was "a principled and fearless decision", while Andrea Jenkyns said Mr Davis's departure was "fantastic news" and hailed Mr Baker as "another courageous and principled MP".

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Both MPs pointed to the Northern Ireland backstop, which the government signed up to in December, as a key part of how the government had ended up with what they argued was an unacceptable compromise.

But there was growing speculation about Mr Johnson's plans on Monday after he failed to attend a meeting of the Government's Cobra emergencies committee as well as a summit of Western Balkan nations being held in London.

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.

Downing Street swiftly appointed eurosceptic housing minister Dominic Raab to Davis's job, and then later named Hunt as Johnson's successor.

After a dramatic day of twists and turns in Westminster, the prime minister addressed Conservative MPs for an hour, issuing a stark warning that divided parties lose elections and telling her party that "to lead is to decide".

May has been balancing competing factions in her party for years, but with the clock ticking down to Brexit, had to make a choice.

European Union officials say they will respond to the proposals once they have seen details.

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Brussels has repeatedly warned it will not accept "cherry-picking" of elements of its single market and it remains to be seen what the response will be in Brussels.

Tusk tweeted: "Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain".

However, those appeals were rejected by one of the leading pro-EU figures on the Labour benches, Wes Streeting, who said the Chequers deal was "dead".

Hunt, who served as the health secretary, was assigned to his new role late on Monday hours after Johnson handed in his resignation letter to May.

In his resignation letter to May, Davis said the policy "hands control of large swathes of our economy to the European Union and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense".

Speaking to BBC radio on Monday, he said he hoped Britain would "resist very strongly any attempt to get any further concessions".

With less than nine months to go before the United Kingdom formally calls time on its membership of the world's biggest trading bloc, a small hardcore group still has the capacity to make serious trouble if it feels the prize of Brexit is being taken away.

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"Theresa May's Government is in meltdown", deputy leader of the Labour Party Tom Watson said.

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