British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing the heat over Brexit. This time according to media reports, it appears to be more severe as she faced a possible “coup” after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, Indian-origin minister Shailesh Vara and two other ministers resigned from her deeply divided Cabinet over a “half-baked” divorce deal with the European Union.
Minutes after Vara stepped down as Northern Ireland minister, Prime Minister May was hit by a bigger blow as her Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigned from the Cabinet saying he “cannot in good conscience” support the draft of the withdrawal agreement with the 28-member bloc.
Amidst a spate of resignations, prominent Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg directly challenged 62-year-old May in the House of Commons. He later submitted a letter of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party.
May’s opponents need 48 letters from Tory MPs to trigger the confidence vote.
Rees-Mogg told reporters that “coup” is the wrong word, as he is following legitimate means to try and oust the prime minister.
“Leaving the European Union is the most fantastic opportunity for the United Kingdom. It means we can have the opportunity of setting lower tariffs, cheaper food, clothing and footwear, helping the least well off in our society the most. This opportunity is being thrown away,” the Conservative lawmaker said.
“When I first became Prime Minister in 2016, there was no ready-made blueprint for Brexit. Many people said it could simply not be done. I have never accepted that. I have been committed day and night to delivering on the result of the referendum and ensuring the UK leaves the EU absolutely and on time,” the defiant prime minister said.
Though she claimed the Cabinet had collectively given its backing to her deal, many ministers have spoken out against it and were not entirely happy with the final text.
The biggest sticking point remains over what is termed as a Northern Ireland backstop, which leaves the EU with the option of keeping the whole of the UK within a common Customs Union if a future trading relationship fails to be thrashed out during the 21-month transition period, set to run until December 2021.