British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson resigns

Dominic Raab

The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, quit on Monday, hours after the resignation late on Sunday night of the minister in charge of Brexit negotiations, David Davis.

After a day when the eurosceptic foreign secretary cancelled meetings for crisis talks at his official residence in central London, Johnson made a decision to walk from his job - just hours after May's Brexit minister David Davis did the same.

But it soon began to unravel, when Davis resigned late on Sunday and launched a no-holds-barred attack on her plan, calling it "dangerous" and one which would give "too much away, too easily" to European Union negotiators, who would simply ask for more.

If Davis's resignation rattled May, Johnson's shook the foundations of her government.

The two departures shatter May's own proclamation of cabinet unity last Friday, when she believed she had, after two years of wrangling, secured agreement on Britain's biggest foreign and trading policy shift in nearly half a century.

It follows concerns raised over Theresa May's Brexit plan which she forward at Chequers on Friday.

Just on Friday, May announced she had secured the backing of her whole Cabinet for her Brexit plan and told ministers to either back it or resign.

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But if she can't force a compromise through her party that itself took months to stitch together, the prime minister's authority would be significantly diminished.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Britain, July 4, 2018. Many Brexit campaigners in her Conservative Party say she has betrayed her promise to pursue a clean break with the EU.

With Britain due to leave the 28-nation bloc on March 29, 2019, European Union officials have warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a deal spelling out the terms of the divorce and a post-split relationship.

Under Conservative Party rules, a leadership race could be triggered if at least 48 of her MPs declared their support for one.

Asked about a possible leadership challenge given the splits in her government, May smiled and said: "nice try, but I'm getting on with the job of delivering what the British people want".

But Davis had expressed his unease over a compromise plan right up until the eve of the meeting, writing a letter to May describing her proposal to ease trade and give Britain more freedom to set tariffs as "unworkable".

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