UK ministers planning to topple Prime Minister May in days over Brexit chaos
A number of UK top ministers are reportedly set to topple Prime Minister May within the next few days due to her inability to get parliamentary support for a Brexit agreement with the European Union (EU) weeks before the deadline to leave the bloc.
The Sunday Times reported that at least 11 unidentified senior cabinet ministers had agreed that the embattled premier should stand down because she had turned into a toxic figure with a judgment that had “gone haywire.”
“The end is nigh. She will be gone in 10 days,” the Times quoted one unnamed minister as saying. “Her judgment has started to go haywire. You can’t be a member of the cabinet who just puts your head in the sand,” the newspaper cited a second unidentified minister as saying.
The newspaper claimed that the rebelling cabinet ministers were going to confront May on Monday and would resign together if she refuses to resign.
According to the report, possible options to replace May as interim prime minister included Cabinet office minister David Lidington, who is widely viewed as her de-facto deputy. Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt were also high on the list, the report stated.
The Mail on Sunday said in a separate report that Gove had the consensus among cabinet ministers as some viewed Lidington as too pro-EU. However, euroskeptic lawmakers expressed doubt about the anti-EU Gove’s ability to end all ties with the EU.
“I’m advised [Gove] would also go for Customs Union plus single market with Labour votes,” said Steve Baker, with the eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG).
The Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile, reported that Nicky Morgan, a former education minister who voted remain in the 2016 EU referendum, was viewed as a “unity candidate” to succeed May among several prominent pro-Leave lawmakers.
May’s office declined to comment on the reports. A Downing Street source, however, had denied the reports after being asked about their legitimacy by Reuters.
Famous betting company Ladbrokes said the odds of May leaving her position at the end of this month stood at 20 percent.
The UK was supposed to secure an exit agreement with the EU by March 29 but the deadline was delayed until April 12 after the premiere asked Brussels for more time on Thursday.
By then, May should either strike a deal with the EU or proceed with a no deal Brexit, an option that lawmakers have already voted against.
May, who voted to stay in the EU in June 2016 when serving as Home Secretary, won the top job in the chaos following the vote.
She had promised to deliver Brexit but undermined her position by calling a botched early election in 2017, which cost the ruling Tory party its parliamentary majority and forced her to enter an embarrassing deal with the Norther Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to keep her position.
British lawmakers have twice overwhelmingly voted down the Brexit divorce deal she struck with the EU in November.