Two leading ministers in the Eurosceptic movement have quit British Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet. This calls into question her chances of being able to fulfill her commitment to continued close ties with the European Union that she claims they had agreed to in the week prior.
These sudden and dramatic resignations came one after the other, with David Davis (who was in charge of exit negotiations with the bloc) quitting on Sunday night and Theresa May accepting Boris Johnson’s resignation on Monday.
Prime Minister May had previously claimed cabinet unity when she announced that they had come to an agreement over this hotly contested issue of how to actually implement Brexit.
May remained steadfast in any attempts to derail her Brexit plan, which, while popular with business leaders in Britain, has failed to gain favour with so called eurosceptics (criticism of the European Union and European integration which could also include complete rejection of the EU).
Minutes after Johnson’s departure, May addressed parliament and had this to say:
“In the two years since the referendum, we have had a spirited national debate, with robust views echoing around the cabinet table as they have on breakfast tables up and down the country. Over that time, I’ve listened to every possible idea and every possible version of Brexit. Mr Speaker, this is the right Brexit,” she said, to jeers from the opposition Labour Party.
One of the challenges of Theresa May’s cabinet or any incumbent government, would be the challenge of implementing this precarious directive of the people. The people of the UK voted for Brexit 2 years ago in what shocked analysts and pushed sitting Prime Minister David Cameron to resign. The people voted for Brexit based on what’s been called a wave of sentiment that has swept over Europe and particularly the UK in response to issues of immigration, security and employment and seeming financial insecurity.
Thanks to the referendum, the government may know what the people want but reality and desire may be irreconcilable. Holding on to the benefits of being in the European Union while enjoying the benefits of Brexit (real or otherwise) could prove to be a challenge hinging on the impossible.