Boris Johnson resigns and tells May she is 'suffocating' the 'Brexit dream': Brexit News for Tuesday 10 July

Boris Johnson resigns and tells May she is 'suffocating' the 'Brexit dream': Brexit News for Tuesday 10 July
Sign up here to receive the daily news briefing in your inbox every morning with exclusive insight from the BrexitCentral team

Boris Johnson follows David Davis in quitting the Government and tells the PM she is suffocating the Brexit ‘dream’…

Boris Johnson has launched a scathing attack on Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, saying the “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”. In his letter resigning as foreign secretary, he said the prime minister was leading the UK into a “semi-Brexit” with the “status of a colony”. His resignation came hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis quit the cabinet. Mrs May said she was “sorry – and a little surprised” by Mr Johnson’s move after his apparent support on Friday… Mr Johnson does not pull any punches, saying Brexit “should be about opportunity and hope” and a “chance to do things differently”, but “that dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”. He claims crucial decisions have been postponed, including preparations for a “no-deal” scenario, “with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system”. – BBC News

His strongest words were reserved for her tactics, however, which he said amounted to surrender. He said that Mrs May had put Britain in the “ludicrous position” of claiming it was essential that it followed EU law “when we no longer have any ability to influence these laws as they are made.” He said: “In that respect we are truly headed for the status of colony. “What is even more disturbing is that this is our opening bid. This is already how we see the end state for the UK — before the other side has made its counter-offer. It is as though we are sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them. Indeed, I was concerned, looking at Friday’s document, that there might be further concessions on immigration, or that we might end up effectively paying for access to the single market.” – The Times (£)

  • May’s plan ‘sticks in the throat’, says Boris Johnson as he resigns over Brexit – Guardian
  • Shouting matches with May, then an ambush at Chequers – The Times (£)
  • The 24 hours that left Theresa May facing a battle to survive – Telegraph (£)
  • Reading between the lines – what Boris Johnson wrote in resignation letter – Jason Farrell for Sky News
  • With David Davis and Boris Johnson gone, the cabinet will be stronger – Sir Malcolm Rifkind for the Guardian
  • The foreign secretary’s resignation is neither unexpected nor unwelcome. He has been a disruptive cabinet member and Mrs May has greater authority without him – Times leader (£)
  • This is not all about him. It is about the kind of country which the UK is going to become – Andrew Gimson for ConservativeHome

> READ: Full text of Boris Johnson’s resignation letter

…as Theresa May vows to fight on after facing MPs in the Commons and the 1922 Committee…

Theresa May has moved to shore up her grip on power after Boris Johnson resigned and savaged her handling of Brexit. The foreign secretary dramatically followed the lead of David Davis and quit the government, leaving the future of the prime minister’s much-vaunted Chequers deal in peril. Mrs May faced MPs a little more than half an hour after news of Mr Johnson’s resignation was preemptively broken by Downing Street on an extraordinary day in Westminster. The PM put on a defiant performance, insisting the EU exit deal agreed with her cabinet last week was the best course forward. Amid speculation of an imminent leadership challenge, Mrs May then had to contend with a meeting of backbench Tory MPs. Maintaining her combative tone, she told her MPs they needed to back her – or face ending up with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in power. Downing Street has made clear Mrs May will fight any attempt to oust her, rejecting suggestions the government is in “meltdown”. – Sky News

  • Boris Johnson’s broadside sets tone for shots from back benches – The Times (£)
  • Theresa May faces the music in the Commons – Katy Balls for the Spectator
  • PM warns furious Tory Brexiteers at showdown meeting that sacking her would mean handing Corbyn the keys to No 10 – MailOnline
  • May faces severe criticism from her backbenchers – The Times (£)
  • What happened when Theresa May met with her MPs – James Forsyth for the Spectator
  • Ruth Davidson lines up behind PM – The Times (£)
  • I have grumbles about this deal too, but the Brexit quitters don’t have an alternative – Ruth Davidson for The Times (£)

> WATCH: May’s statement to the Commons following Chequers Brexit agreement

> WATCH: May acknowledges that she expects to make more concessions to Brussels

> WATCH: May challenged on whether the UK will be able to ban live animal exports after Brexit under her plan

…while Tory MPs battle to stop May’s Chequers plan from going through

The resignations of Mr Johnson and Mr Davis acted as a rallying call to Brexiteers in the Conservative Party who have vowed to do whatever it takes to kill off the Chequers agreement on Brexit. Sources in the European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Tory MPs claimed they had other ministers “lined up” to resign one by one until Mrs May is forced to tear up her plans. After Mrs May had appealed directly to her MPs to back her, two more members of the Government resigned over the Brexit deal. Conor Burns, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mr Johnson, quit saying “I want to see the referendum result respected” and Chris Green, a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Department for Transport, resigned saying the Chequers deal confirmed his fears that “we would not really leave the EU”… Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the ERG, said Mrs May had given him “no reassurance” about the Chequers deal and warned her of “a split coming from the top” if she tried to get the plan through Parliament by relying on Labour votes. – Telegraph (£)

  • Labour poised to vote down Brexit deal – Guardian
  • Brexit was supposed to be about taking back control, not being governed by the back door – Andrea Jenkyns MP for the Telegraph (£)
  • May now faces a ‘no deal’ Brexit. Her ‘Rasputin’ Olly Robbins must go if she wants to prevent it – David Campbell Bannerman MEP for the Telegraph (£)
  • A sovereign Brexit is suddenly possible again – Ambrose Evans-Pritchard for the Telegraph (£)
  • Is anyone brave enough to sign Theresa May’s death warrant? – Charles Moore for the Telegraph (£)
  • If the resignations of Boris and David Davis lead to Tory civil war, we may not leave the EU at all – William Hague for the Telegraph (£)
  • Conservative big beasts Boris Johnson and David Davis risk Brexit by quitting Cabinet — get ready for a no-deal exit – Nick Timothy for The Sun
  • May clings on but she is not in control of the forces that will shape her future – Christian May for City A.M.
  • Theresa May, Britain’s zombie prime minister – Tom McTague, Charlie Cooper and Annabelle Dickson for Politico
  • After the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, Theresa May should rethink her Brexit plan – Telegraph editorial (£)
  • We don’t see a Brexit Plan B from Boris Johnson or David Davis — so it’s Theresa May who must take fight to the gloating EU – The Sun says
  • A day of chaos but the UK must still achieve Brexit – Express editorial

Dominic Raab replaces David Davis as Brexit Secretary…

Dominic Raab has been appointed Brexit secretary by Theresa May after David Davis resigned from the government. Mr Raab, who is currently housing minister, was a prominent Leave campaigner during the 2016 referendum. Mr Davis quit late on Sunday night, saying Theresa May had “given away too much too easily”. The 44-year old Mr Raab, a lawyer before becoming an MP in 2010, will now take over day-to-day negotiations with the EU’s Michel Barnier… Asked whether Mr Raab would be in charge of the talks, No 10 said Mrs May had “always been, from the outset, the lead negotiator”. But a spokesman said there was a “huge body of work to be done, in terms of preparations for the UK leaving the EU and that obviously includes no-deal preparations as well”. – BBC News

  • Is it really leaving? ‘I don’t think so,’ says Davis – Laura Kuenssberg interview with David Davis for BBC News
  • David Davis’ exit confirms the Brexiteers’ worst fears about Theresa May’s plan – Asa Bennett for the Telegraph (£)
  • David Davis didn’t quit for power, but on principle, and he deserves praise for that – Iain Dale for the Telegraph (£)

> David Spencer on BrexitCentral: David Davis’s principled resignation is typical of the man I know

> LISTEN: David Davis’ first interview following his resignation

> WATCH: Jonathan Isaby says Leavers are pleased with ‘principled resignation’ of David Davis

…with Raab expected to ‘play backroom role’ in declining Brexit department…

Dominic Raab has taken over a Brexit department whose status has diminished since its creation two years ago. Mr Raab, the new Brexit secretary, will focus more on preparing Britain domestically for leaving the bloc than the negotiations with Brussels, which have been taken over by Theresa May. David Davis’s declining involvement in the meat of the talks was a source of deepening exasperation in the months leading up to his resignation… His department has an uneasy place in the machinery of government. After the referendum result David Cameron established a Brexit unit inside the Cabinet Office. Mrs May spun it off into a separate department with its own secretary of state and permanent secretary. For the latter role she chose Olly Robbins. Even as head of a department overseen by Mr Davis, Mr Robbins acted as an adviser to Mrs May, creating tension with Mr Davis. – The Times (£)

  • Raab promoted but warned PM is real negotiator – Express
  • Who is new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab – and will he get on with Theresa May? – Telegraph
  • New Brexit secretary Dominic Raab: son of Jewish refugee with black belt in karate – The Times (£)
  • May’s strategy is in crisis – continuing to exclude the Brexit Secretary from the process will only make that worse – Henry Newman for ConservativeHome

…as May is accused of running a “Remainer Government” after Cabinet reshuffle

Theresa May has been accused by senior eurosceptics of running a “Remainer Government” after a Cabinet reshuffle means all four “great offices of state” are now occupied by ministers who backed Remain. Their concerns were sparked when the Prime Minister replaced Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary with Jeremy Hunt, the former Health Secretary. The appointment means the Prime Minister, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary all campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union. Senior Eurosceptics accused the Prime Minister of sidelining Brexiteers. One said she was running a “Remainer Government” as they told the Telegraph: “She just doesn’t care anymore.” Mr Hunt has been a prominent defender of the Prime Minister’s Chequer’s Brexit plan and has been consistently loyal. In a significant reshuffle, he was replaced as Health Secretary by Matt Hancock, who was given a significant promotion from his role as Culture Secretary. Mr Hancock was a prominent backer of Remain during the EU referendum. – Telegraph

  • Profiles: Matt Hancock and Jeremy Wright – The Times (£)
  • Hunt: My job is to stand behind PM – Sky News
  • Theresa May to chair meeting of new Cabinet after Boris Johnson’s Brexit bombshell resignation – Telegraph (£)
  • David Davis’ exit shows how much we need a Brexit cabinet instead of Remainers set on binding our hands – Marcus Fysh MP for the Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: John Longworth vs Andrea Leadsom on Daily Politics: ‘This isn’t Brexit’

Britain turns against Theresa May on Brexit, Sky Data poll finds…

The British public no longer has faith in Theresa May to negotiate Brexit, with two in three saying they do not trust her to get the best possible deal, a Sky Data poll reveals. Some 64% of Britons do not trust her to run Brexit negotiations – up 31 percentage points from when we last asked the question in March 2017. Just 22% now trust her to get the best possible deal, down 32 points from last year, with 14% unsure… This comes following the resignations of David Davis as Brexit secretary and Steve Baker as a junior Brexit minister – with fieldwork for the poll finishing just prior to the further resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Just 30% of Britons think Theresa May is the best Conservative to lead Brexit negotiations, with 44% saying someone else within the party would be better suited, and 26% answered that they don’t know. – Sky News

  • Labour level in poll after Chequers deal – The Times (£)
  • If the great Brexit betrayal isn’t reversed, I’ll have no choice but to return as Ukip leader – Nigel Farage for the Telegraph (£)

…while euroscepticism remains historically high with EU detractors becoming surer about Brexit’s benefits

The proportion of people wanting to Leave the EU or reduce its powers has grown steadily and significantly over the past two and a half decades according to research conducted by John Curtice and Sarah Tipping at the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen)… Since the referendum, support for leaving the EU has become stronger among the parts of the population who were the most concerned about Britain’s membership… However by 2017 there was a marked turnaround in public opinion [on migration]. In 2017 almost half of the British public believed that migrants were good for the economy, while a similar number felt that migrants enrich British culture. For comparison, the proportion of people in 2017 who felt that migrants were bad for the economy and undermined British culture dropped to 17 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. This runs contrary to the perception in certain quarters that the referendum served to increase hostility towards migrants. – Telegraph

  • Negativity about immigration falls away sharply in Brexit Britain – FT (£)
  • Number of Brits who want to leave EU has increased nearly 15% since Brexit referendum, poll reveals – The Sun

US Ambassador warns that trade deal with the United States is ‘totally up in the air’ after Cabinet backs May’s plan

A British trade deal with the United States is “totally up in the air” after ministers backed Theresa May’s new Brexit strategy, America’s ambassador to the UK has said. Woody Johnson cast doubt over a free trade agreement between the two nations as Britain leaves the European Union. Days before President Trump arrives in the UK for talks, he insisted that US officials were “absolutely” seeking a deal, but were awaiting clarity on what it could cover. “I think that there was a briefing that came out, as I understand it,” Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday. “It was very short, a couple of pages. This is a lot more complicated than a couple of pages. I would say that the bilateral agreement, whether we have one or not, is totally up in the air at this point.” – The Times (£)

  • US warns Britain post-Brexit trade deal is ‘totally up in the air’ in wake of Chequers compromise – Telegraph

> WATCH: May admits her Brexit plan makes UK-US trade deal a “challenge”

Fresh setback for May’s customs plan as it emerges it won’t be ready until the next general election

Theresa May’s new customs plan suffered a fresh set back last night when it emerged it won’t be fully ready until the next general election. Officials have warned that some businesses won’t have purchased the technology they will need in time for the Future Customs Arrangement’s inauguration on January 1, 2021. Instead, No10 has been warned to expect a further delay of between a year and 18 months, pushing its full benefits back until the summer of 2022. The revelation is fresh blow to the PM’s new soft Brexit blueprint. But government insiders insisted last night that the delay is not likely to affect as much as 96% of all businesses. Under the FCA plan, importers are charged either the EU’s tariff or Britain’s when their goods arrive, depending on where they end up. – The Sun

EU’s Donald Tusk says he hopes resignations could lead to Brexit being reversed

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said he hoped that the departure of David Davis and Boris Johnson would bring a shift in policy, or even a reversal of the decision to leave the EU. “I can only regret that the idea of Brexit has not left with Davis and Johnson. But who knows?” he said… If the government collapses, the EU’s “plan B” is to extend the Article 50 exit procedure by delaying Brexit on the understanding that the British would request a postponement. “If Theresa May’s government falls and negotiations are unable to continue at this point, our understanding is that the British would ask for an extension rather than risk a no-deal scenario,” an EU official said… One official said: “No one will regret the departure of Johnson here. He was regarded as the main obstacle to progress.” The EU has been frustrated at the prime minister’s strategy of holding negotiations within the Conservative Party to keep Brexit supporters on board while simultaneously engaged in talks with Brussels. European diplomats and officials said they hoped that the departure of two prominent cabinet ministers supporting a British withdrawal from the single market and customs union would “clear up the ambiguity”. – The Times (£)

  • How Europe and the world reacted to Theresa May’s Brexit crisis – Telegraph

Steve Baker: I could not stay on as a Brexit minister when I knew we could have free trade and not EU control

The “common rulebook” ends Parliament’s right to make and change laws over a wide field. Just as Parliament could in principle repeal the European Communities Act, in practice it would be nigh on impossible to leap the hurdles to change. Moreover, the “common rulebook” would mean us adopting relevant EU law. And as I have seen this past year, the EU is not likely to allow us to implement their law or not as a matter of choice. They are likely to require a mechanism to bring EU law into the UK automatically. So it could be back to something like the European Communities Act and merely theoretical control. Under such a system, there is no realistic prospect of reaching trade agreements. We must have domestic and international control and be seen to have it if we are to be a credible negotiating partner… Mr Tusk explained that such a Canada-style deal, involving some change in the UK’s trading arrangements with the EU, would be the result of the UK leaving the customs union, the single market and the jurisdiction of the ECJ. And he was right… It’s time to stick to the bottom lines the public expect, take the Tusk option and go forward with boldness, vision, ambition and resolve to recover our democratic self-government and help change the world for good. Anything less would be a strategic misstep of historic proportions which failed to solve Europe’s fundamental problems. – Former Brexit Minister Steve Baker MP for the Telegraph (£)

> WATCH: Steve Baker reveals why he resigned over Brexit

Telegraph: After the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, Theresa May should rethink her Brexit plan

Mrs May’s difficulty is that the description she continues to give of the proposals agreed by the Cabinet does not conform to the reality. She says it meets her “red lines” by ensuring the UK regains control of its borders, its laws and its money. We would leave the Customs Union and the Single Market, while ensuring close enough alignment to Europe to permit seamless trade and no hard border in Ireland without compromising sovereignty… In our view, she should think again. The Chequers deal is a bad set of proposals that will encourage the EU to demand yet more concessions. Even if the plan survives contact with the EU’s negotiators, it could well be defeated in the Commons – and although MPs voted to leave the EU when they triggered Article 50, they could reverse that decision if the alternative meant crashing out with no deal. Mrs May continues to assert that the UK will be leaving the customs union and the single market; yet the Chequers deal means we will be retaining elements of both. Not only will we have to abide by EU rules for the foreseeable future, with no input into the regulatory process, we will also have to pay into the Brussels budget to gain access to the market. Mr Johnson says we will be a colony of the EU. Are Conservative MPs happy with that? If not, what do they propose to do about it? – Telegraph editorial (£)

The Sun: We don’t see a Brexit Plan B from Boris Johnson or David Davis — so it’s Theresa May who must take fight to the gloating EU

Brexiteers cannot sell the PM’s stinker policy — but Brexit must happen or the consequences for our nation will be grave. Two Leave-backing Cabinet ministers gone. Remain fanatic Anna Soubry praising Theresa May in the Commons. Look no further for proof of how big a capitulation her offer to Brussels is. But who has a better, more viable plan? … And for all the justified rage of Brexit-backing Tories, which The Sun shares, we don’t hear a strategy that could win a vote in a Remain-dominated ­Parliament or secure a deal in Brussels… Boris’s resignation letter said the Government strategy was “suffocated by needless self-doubt”. Absolutely bang on — but is there a Plan B for Boris? The fact that Brexit Secretary Davis was disgracefully sidelined by Mrs May’s Remainer aide Oliver Robbins was typical of No10’s inept handling of negotiations from the start… Now there is chaos. But the EU must take the right message from it. Even this compromise triggered top-level resignations. Demand more concessions and no-deal becomes far more certain. Brussels must not mistakenly conclude, as EU Council chief Donald Tusk hinted, that one more push will destroy Brexit. Brexit must and will happen. The consequences for our democracy, national stability and friendly relations with Europe are unthinkable if it doesn’t. – The Sun says

Andrea Jenkyns: Brexit was supposed to be about taking back control, not being governed by the back door

I got into politics because I wanted to be a voice for people who wanted to see change. Brexit provided the country with an opportunity to finally address some of the issues that they have been frustrated about and felt were ignored for years. Brexit needs to mean something and we need to see real fundamental change. But people are now telling me that the Brexit they voted for isn’t going to be realised. Unfortunately, it increasingly seems like those in charge of our future relationship with the European Union want to keep us bound as tightly as possible to the EU and its rules and regulations. At the end of last week, I said during an interview that I would be willing to write to the 1922 Committee and potentially trigger a leadership contest if there was a watering down of our manifesto commitments and certain red lines. I sincerely hope that this won’t be necessary but I was elected to represent my constituents and the Prime Minister’s team needs to be aware that backbench MPs won’t sit idly by and allow a so-called “soft Brexit” with us being half-in, half-out. – Andrea Jenkyns MP for the Telegraph (£)

Melanie Phillips: Betrayed Brexit voters will give up on politics

Who can doubt the contribution to Friday’s Chequers debacle made by the storied ranks of Whitehall’s Sir Humphreys, skilled beyond measure in manipulating politicians into standing on their heads and swearing they are still the right way up? Right from the moment Britain voted to leave the EU, it was clear that the entire political establishment would unite to thwart this. On Friday, it won and the British people lost… What is beyond doubt, though, is the damage that has been done not just to political careers or the Conservative Party but, far more dangerously, to voters’ belief in the democratic process itself… There is no such thing as a “hard” or a “soft” Brexit. Being half-out and half-in, with Britain still mired in EU laws and policies, means being in. With her Chequers hokey-cokey, Mrs May has thus betrayed the Brexit vote, betrayed her promises to the people who voted for her and betrayed her country. Contrary to Remainer sneers, people voted Brexit for the most principled of reasons. They wanted their country to regain the power to decide its own laws, act in its best interests and rule itself with policies passed by its own parliament. – Melanie Phillips for The Times (£)

Brexit in brief

  • Theresa May’s Brexit strategy has failed. Parliament must take the lead – Sir Keir Starmer for the Guardian
  • Brexit no longer means Brexit – Brian Monteith for the Scotsman
  • Thorny questions on Brexit that the Chequers summit failed to answer – Telegraph (£)
  • Brexiters fear ‘biggest loss of sovereignty’ since 1973 – FT (£)
  • Referendums need an overhaul but votes on big decisions like Brexit are ‘here to stay’, say UCL academics – The Sun
  • Whatever side of the debate, we need to re‑think how we use referendums – Dominic Grieve and Gisela Stuart for The Times (£)
  • London business confidence rises to highest since Brexit referendum – City A.M.
  • UK military moves closer to France – The Times (£)