Theresa May to chair new-look Cabinet meeting after day of Brexit turmoil

The Tánaiste Simon Coveney will also brief the Irish Cabinet on the state of Brexit talks

Theresa May to chair new-look Cabinet meeting after day of Brexit turmoil

Prime Minister Theresa May updates MPs on Brexit in the House of Commons, 09-07-2018. Image: PA/PA Wire/PA Images

The British Prime Minister will chair a meeting of her new-look Cabinet this morning after yesterday’s Brexit turmoil.

The UK Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson both resigned their positions over Westminster’s latest proposals on Brexit.

The resignations put the deal agreed by the entire British Cabinet at Mrs May’s Chequers country estate in peril, however she has since moved to shore up her grip on power.

Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has replaced Mr Johnson as Foreign Secretary. He has said his job now will be to stand 'four square' behind his prime minister.

Yesterday's reshuffle also saw Matt Hancock become the new Health Secretary, while Dominic Raab took over from David Davis who quit as Brexit secretary.

Downing Street has made it clear that Mrs May will fight any attempt to oust her, rejecting suggestions the government is in "meltdown."

In Dublin, the Tánaiste Simon Coveney is expected to brief the Cabinet today on the state of the Brexit negotiations.

Boris Johnson leaves Carlton House Terrace in Westminster, London, after resigning as UK Foreign Secretary, 09-07-2018. Image: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/PA Images

Resignation

In his resignation letter, the outgoing foreign secretary claimed Britain was "heading for a semi-Brexit" and would take on "the status of a colony" under the Chequers plan.

He claimed the Brexit dream was "dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt," with the current approach like "sending our vanguard into battle with the white flags fluttering above them."

In her reply, Mrs May said she was "sorry - and a little surprised" he had chosen to depart after "productive discussions" at Chequers.

"As we developed our policy on Brexit, I have allowed Cabinet colleagues considerable latitude to express their views," she said.

"But the agreement we reached on Friday marks the point where that is no longer the case, and if you are not able to provide the support we need to secure this deal in the interests of the United Kingdom, it is right that you should step down."

Face-off

Facing the House of Commons little more than half an hour after Downing Street announced Mr Johnson’s resignation, Mrs May insisted the proposals offer the best course for the UK.

She later warned a meeting of backbench Tory MPs that they needed to back her – or face ending up with Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in power.

Yesterday, the Tánaiste Simon coveney played down the significance of Mr Davis resigning.

He explained: "I think for some time now the British negotiation has been out of No 10 [Downing Street].

"The Prime Minister is the person who makes the final call in relation to Britain's positioning on Brexit.

“Our focus has to be to work with the Prime Minister, but in particular to work with the [Michel] Barnier taskforce now to seek and get a lot more detail on the British position."