Boris Johnson's resignation a selfish act, says Guto Bebb

The resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis over Theresa May's Brexit plans have fuelled fevered speculation that the Prime Minister could face a leadership challenge.

Aside from the loyalty which MPs naturally feel towards their leader, many are concerned that Mrs May's removal could plunge the party into chaos, with no obvious replacement lined up, potentially setting the scene for Jeremy Corbyn to seize power in a new general election. His departure adds to a crisis over Brexit that threatens to tear apart Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

Boris Johnson followed Davis in resigning as foreign secretary a day later, plunging the government into more of a mess than it was in already.

Brexit secretary David Davis quit on Sunday following crunch talks at Chequers, saying the agreed trade position for the white paper meant "we are giving too much away too easily and that's a unsafe strategy at this time".

Davis said he could not support May's plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the European Union, which he said gave "too much away, too easily". I think she is strengthened by all of this.

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.

Hunt, who had been the health secretary, is considered one of May's most loyal ministers.

A spokesman for Downing Street confirmed: "This afternoon, the Prime Minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary".

The former home secretary Amber Rudd accused Mr Johnson of "backseat driving" in the Brexit negotiations in September previous year.

With less than nine months until Britain is due to leave the bloc, May is sticking to her plan for a "business friendly" Brexit.

Mrs May said she was "sorry - and a little surprised" by Mr Johnson's move after his apparent support on Friday.

Johnson said in his letter that May's plan to keep close economic ties with the bloc means Britain is heading for a "semi Brexit" that would leave Britain with the "status of a colony" of the EU.

That makes negotiating a deal with the European Union very hard: The bloc has said that Britain can't pick and choose the "four freedoms" (free movement of goods, capital, services, and people) and have an "a la carte" Brexit.

The PM told MPs she wanted to recognise the work of the former Brexit secretary on steering through some of the "most important legislation for generations" and the "passion" that the outgoing foreign secretary had shown in promoting a "global Britain to the world".

Johnson quit Monday with an incendiary letter accusing May of killing "the Brexit dream" and flying "white flags" of surrender in negotiations with the European Union.

Some Conservative Party lawmakers warned they would not tolerate a betrayal of Brexit.

Vanessa Coleman

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