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09th Jul 2018

Boris Johnson has resigned as foreign secretary

There's an election coming

Oli Dugmore

There’s an election coming

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson has resigned.

His departure follows that of David Davis from the Department for Exiting the European Union, as the Brexiteer cabal folds around Theresa May’s government.

Boris is the third minister to resign over Theresa May’s Brexit plan in 24 hours, following David Davis and his deputy Steve Baker.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “This afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.”

The new Brexit plan agreed at Chequers last week said the UK is committed to “continued harmonisation” with EU rules and will “maintain a common rulebook for all goods.”

David Davis said he resigned because he could no longer support the Prime Minister’s Brexit strategy, he being responsible for actually implementing it.

With Boris no longer in the tent pissing out, sort of, the likelihood of a Conservative leadership contest looms.

If Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee which is the symbolic seat of backbench power, receives letters of no confidence from 48 MPs then a vote of no confidence in Theresa May is triggered – the permutations of which could extend as far as a general election.

May was due to address backbench Conservatives at 5.30pm today.

Tory MP Ross Thomson, not one of the regular Brexiteers, lauded Davis and Johnson for refusing to agree to the Chequers deal.

The 30-year-old MP for Aberdeen tweeted: “The decisions we take now will shape Britain’s relationship with the EU and the rest of the world for a generation. It’s imperative we do #Brexit right no half measures! #ChequersPlan.”

A sign that discontent is spreading through the party.

A speedy replacement was found for David Davis in Dominic Raab, but whether Theresa May will be able to find a new foreign secretary before Donald Trump arrives in the UK on Thursday remains to be seen.

In Brussels, Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council responded to the news: “Politicians come and go, while the problems they have created for their people remain.

“The mess caused by Brexit is the biggest problem in the history of EU-UK relations and it is still very far from being solved with or without Mr Davis.

“Unfortunately the idea of Brexit hasn’t left together with David Davis.”

Asked about Mr Johnson’s resignation Mr Tusk replied: “I can just repeat what I said about David Davis.”