Speculation over the long term future of the UK government has grown after leading Tory Brexiteers Boris Johnson and David Davis resigned from the cabinet
OPPOSITION parties are preparing for a snap general election after Theresa May’s government was plunged into chaos following the resignation of Boris Johnson and David Davis amidst a rift in the cabinet over the governments approach to negotiations.
Boris Johnson followed David Davis in leaving the cabinet, announcing his resignation as foreign secretary on Monday [9 July] afternoon.
Betting odds on a 2018 general election were slashed after the sudden resignation of the Brexit secretary David Davis on Sunday evening, with 90 per cent of bets placed on the next election taking place before 2019. Speculation over how long prime minister Theresa May could hang on also grew amongst Westminster watchers.
Labour have made the most direct calls for a general election, but the SNP have also insisted that they are “ready to go” if another snap election is called.
The cabinet resignations come after a government summit at Chequers, the prime ministers official country home, which agreed a “soft-Brexit” style deal which aimed to gain wider support in Westminster, but Tory Eurosceptics were immeadiately critical of the proposals which they say betrayed the governments commitments on Brexit.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson said Theresa May was right to accept Johnson’s resignation from the government.
So farewell then @BorisJohnson you will not be missed. Maybe now we can get someone who will actually do the job of foreign secretary. The UK’s image in the eyes of the world has just improved immeasurably.
— Tommy Sheppard MP (@TommySheppard) July 9, 2018
The Chequers plan has attracted support of pro-EU Tory MPs such as former government ministers Anna Soubry and Nicky Morgan, and Downing street has offered to brief all opposition MPs on the plan in a bid to gain enough support in Westminster.
Tory MPs have started to openly discuss the prospect of a leadership challenge to Theresa May, with MP Andrea Jenkyns saying May’s time as prime minister was “over”. May doubled down on the plan on Monday in a statement to the House of Commons.
Commenting on David Davis’ resignation, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: “The resignation of David Davis is a far cry from the repeated ‘strong and stable’ rhetoric from Theresa May. This isn’t so much ‘strong and stable’ as it is chaotic and crumbling.”
“It has taken the Tory government more than two years since the EU referendum to formulate some sort of a Brexit proposal, and it has taken a mere two days for it to all fall apart.
Blackford stopped short of calling for a snap election, instead asking Theresa May to put forward a plan which kept the UK in the single market and the customs union.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the crisis made a Labour government more likely: “Theresa May has no authority left. The Prime Minister is in office but not in power. This is not sustainable.
“In the interests of the great majority of people in Scotland and across the United Kingdom, we must have a General Election.”
The SNP also responded to rumours that Theresa May could be ousted from office. SNP deputy Keith Brown told CommonSpace: “With the Tories in turmoil over Brexit and rumours rife that Theresa May will be ousted from office, we’re fired up, ready to go.”
However one SNP insider at Westminster told CommonSpace that the group were privately fearful that their small majorities would struggle to hold up if a snap election polarised around Labour and the Conservatives.
Scottish Labour’s campaigns spokesperson Neil Findlay said the SNP should publicly back a general election which could see the Tories ousted from Downing Street.
Picture courtesy of Annika Haas
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