UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigned on June 9, just 15 hours after Brexit Secretary David Davis stepped down amidst growing disagreements with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May over the course of negotiations ahead of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019.
May later announced in the day that Jeremy Hunt, the long-serving health minister and a close of May’s, had been named to replace Johnson, long considered a flamboyant maverick who was regularly at odds with May. Hunt’s appointment could alter the Brexit balance of May’s top ministerial team and help keep her in office despite the acrimonious negotiations within her own party over how to move forward with Brexit
Johnson was one of the leading figures of the Leave campaign, but said he saw May’s proposal for a future relationship with the EU as “polishing a turd.” On July 6, May made clear that whoever was unwilling to stand behind the deal should offer his or her resignation.
May’s office issued a “thank you for your service” statement and is expected to announce his successor within the day.
Johnson, a former Mayor of London, campaigned for Leave and rode a bus promising to save the UK £350 million a week, which should go to the National Health Service rather than “Brussels.” His resignation came after he skipped a summit concentrating on the Western Balkans.
The question now is whether these will be the final days of May’s government as she is facing a revolt within her cabinet that is likely to have a knock-on effect in parliament.
Since June 2017, May has been leading a minority government. Former Tory chairman Grant Shapps is calling on May to consider whether she should stay on as prime minister.
The leader of Scotland’s Conservatives and a known critic of Johnson, Ruth Davidson, took to Twitter to congratulate May for accepting Johnson’s resignation. Davidson is expected to float her name as a possible successor to May in the event of a leadership contest.
Unlike Johnson, who was one of the most high-profile Brexit campaigners, Hunt backed the “Remain” campaign during the 2016 referendum.