Brexit: May warns against United Kingdom leadership change

Elias Hubbard
November 18, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Saturday told the plotters planning to overthrow her that their alternative Brexit plans would not resolve all their problems with her draft deal.

Two British Cabinet ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, resigned Thursday in opposition to the divorce deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with the European Union - a major blow to her authority and her ability to get the deal through Parliament.

Going further, May suggested her Brexit deal will protect "millions of British jobs across the country", end sizeable annual payments to the EU budget, and make sure the European Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over the UK.

"I think that the United Kingdom can not be trapped in a permanent customs arrangement and I think that it's really important that we get some sort of clarity and some improvement on that particular aspect of it".

Earlier, Stephen Barclay was picked as the new Brexit secretary, replacing Dominic Raab who quit on Thursday, as Mrs May sought to fill her cabinet following the resignations.

A No 10 spokesman indicated that Mr Barclay would focus on domestic preparations for Brexit, rather than negotiations.

Other ministers, including David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, joined in a campaign to shore up Mrs May's authority, as he praised her resilience in carrying out an "absolutely back-breaking job".

May's spokeswoman said there had been strong business support for her draft deal but British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce was continuing with its no-deal contingency plans.

He added: "I think that whatever deal, when we see various different organisations and groups talk about different ways of leaving the EU - Norway, Canada, all of these things - what we have to be clear about ... is all of those require a backstop".

Dominic Raab left his posting as Brexit Secretary over the document, and so, too, did Esther McVey who left role as Work and Pensions Secretary. Mr. Barclay, who supported Vote Leave in the 2016 referendum, is expected to focus on domestic preparations for the U.K.'s departure from the European Union and not negotiations.

It comes as Mrs May fights to get her cabinet, parliament and the country to back the Brexit agreement she has struck with Brussels.

May could face a no-confidence vote if at least 15 percent of Conservative lawmakers - 48 MPs - submit letters saying she has lost their support.

While May appeared to have survived the week's political storm intact, her headache is far from over - disaffected "Brexiteers" believe they have the numbers required to trigger a challenge to her leadership within days. Dieter Kempf told Funke Mediengruppe newspaper chain that a no-deal Brexit would hit the automotive, aerospace, chemical, pharmaceutical, engineering and electrical industries particularly hard.

Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who ran in 2016, and International Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt are also expected to run.

Theresa May's "deal"' is in two parts - a withdrawal agreement that includes half-baked proposals for a backstop, and a political declaration that is incredibly vague and opens the gate to a hard Tory Brexit.

But it led to a backlash from some Brexit-supporting MPs, including Mr Raab and Ms McVey. "For the sake of the prosperity of our country, we must not go backwards".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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