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UK foreign secretary resigns Boris Johnson tells PM she is suffocating Brexit 'dream'
Boris Johnson has launched a scathing attack on Theresa May's Brexit strategy, saying the “dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”.
In his letter resigning as foreign secretary, he said the prime minister was leading the UK into a “semi-Brexit” with the “status of a colony”.
His resignation came hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis quit the cabinet.
May insists her plans are the “the best way to honour” the Brexit vote, amid a deepening political crisis.
The prime minister's official spokesman said she would fight any attempt to oust her as prime minister if the required 48 Tory MPs called for a contest.
She earlier faced her critics at a packed meeting of backbench Conservative MPs, many of whom share Johnson's concerns about her Brexit stance.
Loud applause could be heard at the end of the 1922 Committee meeting, which the PM attended for just over an hour.
Leaving the gathering, leading Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said he did not think there would be a confidence vote over May.
But ministerial aide Chris Green resigned his position as a parliamentary private secretary to the Department for Transport after the meeting, saying in a letter to May that she had confirmed his fears that “we would not really leave the EU” under her proposals.
Johnson does not pull any punches, saying Brexit “should be about opportunity and hope” and a “chance to do things differently”, but “that dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”.
He claims crucial decisions have been postponed, including preparations for a “no-deal” scenario, “with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system”.
The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.
There have been differences within the Conservatives over how far the UK should prioritise the economy by compromising on issues such as leaving the remit of the European Court of Justice and ending free movement of people.
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.
She took her entire cabinet to her country residence on Friday to try to get agreement on a UK vision for post-Brexit relations.
An agreement was announced after the 12-hour meeting, but many Brexiteers have been unhappy with the deal which they think will lead to the “worst of both worlds.”
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