May heads for Brexit crunch talks following a day of Cabinet resignation chaos

  • Theresa May set to meet new Cabinet following the departures of Boris Johnson and David Davis.
  • They resigned in protest at May’s soft Brexit plans and dealt a blow to her authority in the process.
  • Pro-Brexit Tory MPs are now mulling a leadership contest to topple May, but they could struggle to find enough MPs to back the move.
  • Johnson’s departure and leadership ambitions could tip the balance against her.

LONDON – Theresa May is set to meet her new-look Cabinet on Tuesday morning following a chaotic day in which two high-profile resignations cast fresh doubt over her leadership.

Downing Street last night completed a quickfire reshuffle following the departures of David Davis and Boris Johnson from their roles as Brexit Secretary and Foreign Secretary, who both resigned in protest at May’s soft Brexit plans.

Here’s the full list of changes:

  • Dominic Raab replaces David Davis as Brexit Secretary
  • Jeremy Hunt replaces Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary
  • Matt Hancock replaces Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary
  • Jeremy Wright replaces Matt Hancock as Digital Secretary

The changes mean May has lost a third of her Cabinet in the space of twelve months. The resignations of Davis and Johnson were also the first time two Cabinet ministers have quit within 24 hours for over 35 years.

May will be hoping the rest of her revamped Cabinet will back the Brexit plan she unveiled last Friday.

Under her plan, the UK will effectively remain in the single market for goods; collect EU tariffs on the bloc’s behalf; and remain under at least some influence of the European Court of Justice.

The prime minister’s plan is designed to the continue frictionless trade of goods between the UK and EU border and preserve the invisible border on the island of Ireland.

The proposals have angered Brexiteers in the Conservative party because it means the UK would have to continue following EU rules for the trade of goods. This would also make free trade deals with countries like the US less likely.

May’s plan could be strengthened by the fact that all four of the so-called Great Offices of State – Prime Minister, Chancellor, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary – are now held by MPs who backed Remain in the 2016 referendum.

Brexit talks are set to resume next week as May awaits a response from her Brussels to her proposal.

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, said on Friday he “welcomed” the plans.

However, a senior EU source has told Business Insider that the UK will not be allowed to stay in the single market for goods as Brussels views this as “cherry-picking” the single market.

Barnier is set to take part in a question and answer session in New York at 18:00 (BST) on Tuesday, in which he is almost certain to discuss the current state of Brexit negotiations.