Theresa May vows to fight on and deliver her Brexit-EU deal

Theresa May today insisted her Brexit blueprint was the plan ‘in our national interest’ as she was jeered in the Commons over her Government collapsing around her.

The Prime Minster faced shouts of ‘resign’ as she paid tribute to David Davis and Boris Johnson for their work.

Mr Johnson shook her Government to its foundations by becoming the second to resign in less than 24 hours in protest at her soft Brexit plan – just 30 minutes before she appeared at the Commons Despatch Box. 

His shock decision came hours after Mr Davis stunned Westminster with his late night walk out from Cabinet, two days after a crunch Cabinet showdown at Chequers. 

A defiant Prime Minister insisted the Cabinet had agreed a ‘comprehensive’ proposal for Brexit at its meeting on Friday, vowing to MPs it delivered on the referendum. 

She said it was the culmination of a ‘spirited national debate’ and challenged by Brexiteers in the Commons, she said: ‘This is not a betrayal.’ 

Mrs May warned the EU that if it failed to engage with her proposals it risked Cabinet crashing out without a deal. 

She told MPs she wanted a ‘deep and special partnership’ with the EU that allowed Britain to be a free trading nation while maintaining ties with its nearest neighbour.    

Mrs May welcomed to the Commons by wild cheers from Tory MPs – a signal to some of how much trouble May is in. 

She was jeered by Labour MPs who shouted for her to give in and resign. 

Other Brexiteer ministers including Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling lined up in support of the Prime Minister during her Commons statement. 

In the Commons, Mrs May said she wanted to recognise the work of the former Brexit Secretary on steering through some of the ‘most important legislation for generations’.  

And she said she wanted to ‘recognise the passion’ that the outgoing Foreign Secretary had shown in promoting a ‘global Britain to the world’. 

Mrs May told the Commons: ‘This is a Brexit that is in our national interest… It is the right Brexit deal for Britain.’

Calling on the EU to ‘intensify’ negotiations over the summer, she said: ‘What we are proposing is challenging to the EU, it requires them to think again and look beyond the positions they have taken so far and agree a fair balance of rights and obligations.’

Mrs May’s plan was warmly endorsed by Tory remain Rebel Anna Soubry, while Lib Dem leader Vince Cable praised her for killing off a US-UK trade deal.

Both remarks will further enrage Brexiteers who believe Mrs May is betraying the votes of 17.4 million Leave voters.   

Peter Bone faced shouts of ‘shame’ and ‘nonsense’ from Tory colleagues as he outlined how activists in his Wellingborough constituency refused to campaign at the weekend as they felt ‘betrayed’ over what emerged from the Cabinet summit.

Mrs May said she was ‘very sorry’ the activists did not feel able to campaign, before adding: ‘This is not a betrayal.’

Before resigning, Mr Johnson did not take part in a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee as planned.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt declined to comment as they left the meeting this afternoon. 

And he failed to arrive at a major summit on the Western Balkans in the capital, sparking fevered speculation as to his whereabouts.

Germany’s Europe Minister Michael Roth tweeted this afternoon he was still waiting for Mr Johnson to arrive at the summit as ‘host’.  

Mr Johnson’s official car and police outriders were outside his official residence on Carlton Gardens this afternoon. 

Officers twice warned journalists the Foreign Secretary was about to leave, only to then say they had been told to stand by. 

Eurosceptic MPs have warned Mr Johnson he will blow his chance of ever becoming Tory leader if he does not come out against Mrs May’s Brexit plan.

Backbencher Andrea Jenkyns said: ‘The time has come that we need a Brexiteer prime minister, someone who believes in Brexit…

‘Theresa May’s premiership is over.’

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage urged Mr Johnson to be a ‘hero’.

He tweeted: ‘Boris Johnson now has the chance to save Brexit, he will be a hero if he walks away from the betrayal of voters’ trust.’ 

Earlier, Mr Davis stopped short today of urging Mr Johnson to follow him out of the door, and said he hoped Mrs May would not be forced from power.

‘It’s not for me to make other people’s decisions. These decisions are very very hard to make,’ he said.

It was claimed today by the Evening Standard that Mr Davis had tried to persuade the Foreign Secretary to resign alongside him last night. 

Mr Johnson was warned last night he had to resign or lose forever his hopes of being Prime Minister. 

Mr Johnson is understood to have denounced the Prime Minister’s plan as a ‘turd’ during the Cabinet meeting at Chequers, before agreeing to support it. 

A senior Tory aide said today was high noon for Mr Johnson and his ambitions.

They told Politico: ‘This is Boris’ last chance to show he’s not an irrelevant panty wetter.

‘The problem is, he’s a player who loves being on the inside too much.’


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