United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has tapped Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Jeremy Hunt as foreign secretary, hours after outgoing Boris Johnson announced his resignation.
Hunt was not for Brexit at the time of the 2016 referendum, but he changed his tune because he could not stand the “arrogance” of the European Union, reported the Guardian in 2017.
Hunt, the longest-serving health and social care secretary in the U.K.’s history, was seen entering the prime minister’s office at Number 10 Downing Street on Monday, and British media was already guessing that May would ask him to replace Johnson.
The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Rt Hon @Jeremy_Hunt as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) July 9, 2018
A proposed Brexit deal constructed by May and her cabinet on Friday spurred a wave of resignations, reported The Guardian. Johnson reportedly called promoting the weak deal “polishing a turd.”
“It is more than two years since the British people voted to leave the European Union on an unambiguous and categorical promise that if they did so they would be taking back control of their democracy,” Johnson wrote in his resignation letter. “We appear to be headed for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no U.K. control over that system.”
I am proud to have served as Foreign Secretary. It is with sadness that I step down: here is my letter explaining why. pic.twitter.com/NZXzUZCjdF
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) July 9, 2018
There is speculation that Johnson might attempt to gain May’s powerful position by getting enough Parliament members to give votes of no confidence in her leadership, reported The Guardian. British voter approval of May’s management of Brexit is at an all-time low of 29 percent, reported Reuters Monday. (RELATED: Nigel Farage Will Come Back To Fight On The Front Lines If ‘Sellouts’ Derail Brexit)
Brexit Secretary David Davis and under-secretary Steve Baker had resigned hours before Johnson did, reported BBC. Davis said the U.K. is “giving away too much and too easily.”
Two more government official’s have stepped down since Johnson tendered his resignation, reported The Guardian. Member of Parliament (MP) Chris Green was parliamentary private secretary to the Department for Transport, and MP Conor Burns was parliamentary private secretary to Johnson.
May has already replaced the other hard Brexiters who quit. MP and housing minister Dominic Raab will replace Davis as secretary of state for Exiting the European Union, reported BBC.
Davis, Raab and Johnson supported a hard Brexit during the 2016 referendum.
The U.K. envisions leaving the EU on March 29, 2019, after over 45 years in the bloc. But negotiating the terms of Brexit is proving challenging, especially when it comes to trade. Hardline Brexiters fear May will backtrack on exiting the Customs Union, which forces it to set external tariffs, and the Single Market, which heavily regulates goods that can move freely within the EU.
However, while speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, May maintained that the U.K. will leave the Customs Union and Single Market. She released a statement Friday laying out the four steps of her Brexit model that she says will ensure a healthy economy. The government will release a paper with more detail Thursday, reported The Guardian.
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