May insists her Brexit deal delivers on result of European Union referendum

Remigio Civitarese
Luglio 12, 2018

Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said it has been a good week for the Brexit process despite the resignations that followed the publication of Theresa May's Chequers proposals.

The Chequers proposals, which have yet to be negotiated with the European Union, prompted the resignations of Boris Johnson, the foreign secretary, and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, who both said they could not support them.

In a sign of the dissatisfaction in Tory ranks, MP Henry Smith announced on Twitter he had refused an invitation to watch England's World Cup semi-final clash with Croatia at 10 Downing Street because the prime minister "isn't bringing Brexit home".

Jeremy Hunt, who has replaced Mr Johnson as foreign secretary, said he would be "four square" behind her.

In a tweet clearly created to show she was not being knocked off course, Mrs May said: "Productive Cabinet meeting this morning - looking ahead to a busy week".

Downing Street sources strongly refuted the claims but in the Spectator, journalist Charles Moore wrote: "At Chequers, I hear, one of her responses to suggested changes in her blueprint was to say, "No, that's not possible, because I've already cleared it [the existing text] with Mrs Merkel".

Johnson's departure came a day after David Davis, the British minister in charge of Brexit negotiations, also stepped down in protest of May's new Brexit strategy that pointed to a more "business-friendly" deal with the EU.

They will demand the government scrap its offer to collect tariffs on behalf of the European Union when the Customs Bill returns for debate - a crucial element of the prime minister's plan for a "facilitated customs arrangement".

Boris Johnson resigned from his position on Monday.

United States ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, has said a deal will be "a major priority" for Trump, calling Brexit "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change direction".

Conservative lawmaker Michael Fallon, an ally of May, dismissed Johnson's "Brexit dream" rallying cry.

The resignations have plunged her government into a crisis that could challenge her leadership and result in a no-confidence vote in parliament.

Speaking at the Institute of worldwide and European Affairs in Dublin, Minister Coveney said there had not been a clear British negotiating position for many months.

Ambassador Johnson said he would facilitate a meeting between Trump and Boris Johnson, who is seen as a potential challenger to May, telling BBC radio: "If the president wants to do that and he feels it's appropriate, he'll make that decision".

"And it would be a split coming from the top, not from the members of the Conservative Party across the country".

The foreign and Brexit secretaries have both quit over the plans.

"We deliver that Brexit and we do it in a way that protects jobs and livelihoods and meets our commitment to Northern Ireland", she added.

The pair said they have stood down as they oppose Theresa May's Chequers policy on Brexit.

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

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