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Boris Johnson Leaves Again

Leave campaigner Boris Johnson, likely the next British PM (Stuart Boulton / Shutterstock.com)

Both the minister responsible for “Brexit” and the Foreign Secretary have resigned from Theresa May’s government:

Boris Johnson resigns as UK Foreign Secretary, following the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis.

The resignation of two top members of her government shows a clear lack of confidence in May’s leadership and a rejection of her handling of “Brexit.” Davis’ resignation was damaging enough for May, and it showed how dissatisfied many in her own party are with her handling of negotiations with the European Union. James Forsyth explained Davis’ reasons for quitting:

Davis has gone because he could not stomach the opening UK negotiating position agreed at Chequers. Davis has long been clear that he wanted a final deal that was, essentially, a souped-up version of the Canada free trade deal. But the position agreed at Chequers envisaged a relationship very different to that, one far more firmly in the EU’s regulatory orbit. As Brexit Secretary Davis was meant to promote the Chequers plan at home and abroad. He clearly didn’t feel that he could do that.

It seems that Johnson couldn’t bring himself to defend the plan, either. Johnson’s resignation makes it look as if the government is collapsing under the pressure of “Brexit.” Forsyth looks ahead to what this will mean for May’s future:

The question now becomes, how does Mrs May pass her deal with the EU, if she can get one? It is becoming increasingly likely that even with the DUP, she won’t have the Tory votes to do it. This makes Brexit far more unpredictable than before—both no deal and no Brexit are more likely than they were. The other big question is whether we are looking at 46 letters going in at some point in the near-future. At the moment, May would almost certainly survive a Tory vote of no confidence. But it would further weaken her.

The resignations create more uncertainty about the future of May’s government and Britain’s relationship with the EU after two years of political and economic uncertainty created by the EU referendum result. Both May and the U.K. are running out of time to secure an agreement to salvage something from the shambles that her government has made of this process.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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