Chaos hits May strategy after FM, Davis depart over 'compromise'
Boris Johnson has resigned as Britain's foreign secretary, becoming the third high-ranking government official in 24 hours to walk out rather than back Theresa May's plans for a soft Brexit.
Johnson's resignation follows those of the Brexit minister and negotiator David Davis and his deputy at the Department for Exiting the EU, Steve Baker, who left on Sunday.
The prime minister hammered out a Brexit compromise among her deeply divided cabinet during an all-day meeting at her country residence, Chequers, on Friday, but, after consulting with friends and allies, Johnson said he could not promote the deal, leaving the British leader's Brexit plans all but in tatters.
As the face of the Vote Leave campaign ahead of the referendum vote, Johnson's departure will magnify the sense of crisis around May, and increase the chances that she could face a vote of no confidence.
The prime minister was due to address her backbench MPs in Westminster at 5:30 pm on Monday, in an atmosphere that was approaching feverish. If 48 MPs were to write letters of no confidence, May would face a vote of no confidence.
Many of the May supporters believe she would win such a contest, but if she lost, she would face a leadership challenge, with Johnson among the potential candidates.
After a day when the foreign secretary cancelled meetings for crisis talks at his official residence in central London, Johnson decided to walk from his job－just hours after May's Brexit minister Davis did the same in protest at her plans.
The two resignations leave May badly exposed at the top of a government unable to unite over Britain's biggest foreign and trading policy shift in almost half a decade.
It also puts a question mark over whether the leader will try to weather it and stand firm in her commitment to pursue a "business friendly" Brexit, or will be faced with more resignations and calls to quit herself.
"This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary," May's spokesman said in a statement. "His replacement will be announced shortly. The Prime Minister thanks Boris for his work."
Davis quit late on Sunday night, saying Prime Minister Theresa May had "given away too much too easily".
"The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one," Davis wrote in his resignation letter.
On Monday morning, Dominic Raab was appointed the new Brexit secretary and will now take over day-to-day negotiations with the EU's Michel Barnier.
Raab was a prominent Vote Leave campaigner during the 2016 referendum and had been minister for housing. The 44-year old was a lawyer before becoming an MP in 2010.