May presses on with Brexit plans

Jack Taylor  Getty Images David Davis

There is, however, a major potential new barrier: The Brexit plan published by the United Kingdom government on Thursday is created to keep the country closely aligned in key areas with the European Union, severely limiting its flexibility to negotiate new trade agreements.

"Boris Johnson is a friend of mine", he said.

"The Government now has a song to sing".

"We are being taken advantage of by the EU".

'We'd rather watch England take penalties in the World Cup final than see Britain go into the final round of Brexit negotiations so disunified'.

"Leaving the European Union involves challenge and opportunity".

May named one of her most loyal ministers, Jeremy Hunt, to replace Johnson in the job of Britain's top diplomat.

Her proposal would see Britain adopt European Union rules for trade in goods after Brexit, but maintain flexibility for its key services sector and end freedom of movement.

Mr Davis's departure was met with dismay from business leaders who had called for greater certainty over the Brexit process. (Indeed, any Conservative prime minister who lost their majority in an election called because of massively favourable opinion polls wouldn't usually last a few days, never mind more than a year.) But these times are far from "normal" - and as it stands, it's hard to see who in their right mind would want to take over from May right now considering the mess they would inherit.

"What Australia wants to see is stability and certainty and we want to continue working with the UK Government on matters of concern to us and that includes a free trade agreement when the time is appropriate".

A minister quoted the prime minister as saying, "If we don't pull together, we risk the election of Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister", The Guardian reported.

Her spokesman said the cabinet had discussed the publication of a "white paper" policy document on Britain's future ties with the European Union and stepping up preparations for any no-deal outcome to the negotiations with Brussels.

Davis himself expressed regret that Johnson had quit, and said it would be "wrong" for his departure to trigger a major rebellion.

But others said May had adopted the most realistic plan after losing her parliamentary majority in an ill-judged election a year ago, leaving her reliant on a small Northern Irish party to govern.

"We're extremely confident in the ability of the U.K.to plough through this issue with Brexit and move on", he said. He has criticized May over her response to terrorism and approach to Brexit, and infuriated many in Britain when he retweeted a far-right group.

On Monday, May defended Friday's deal, which would allow for some ties between Britain and the EU.

But many eurosceptic MPs are outraged at May's plan, and Davis's resignation letter was scathing.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is insisting the Government's new European Union withdrawal proposals stay true to the referendum result while backing business.

Theresa May only has a majority in Parliament with the support of the 10 MPs from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, so any split raises questions about whether her plan could survive a Commons vote. Euroskeptic Conservative lawmaker Peter Bone said party activists felt "betrayed" by the government plan.

The plan has caused outrage among eurosceptic members of May's Conservative party, and foreign minister Boris Johnson joined Davis in dramatically quitting this week in protest.

"But I come back to this point, if people don't like this proposal what is their alternative?"

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