Wednesday 12 December 2018

Kevin Doyle: Boris Johnson resignation a 'game-changer' - but many will want to see Theresa May survive crisis

UK Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: REUTERS
UK Prime Minister Theresa May Photo: REUTERS
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The turd has just hit the fan in the UK.

When David Davis resigned late last night most people shrugged their shoulders.

At all the big moments, Mr Davis has been overruled by the Prime Minister. He has been side-lined from the key talks since last year.

Ahead of the Chequers summit last week, Tánaiste Simon Coveney travelled to London to meet a string of ministers and senior officials who gave him a strong indication of what to expect. David Davis was not among those on his list.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), David Davis (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting Photo: Getty Images
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (L), David Davis (C) and Britain's Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson leave 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting Photo: Getty Images
David Davis says it is with "deep regret" that he is resigning Photo: Getty Images

So nobody was too bothered when he walked out on Theresa May’s government.

But the Boris Johnson bombshell is a game-changer.

It’s well-known that he has ambitions to be Prime Minister someday – but this probably isn’t that moment.

At the same time his resignation will massively destabilise an already shattered UK government.

Mrs May faces the prospect of placing a motion of confidence in herself before the party in a move that could see others go overboard.

But she’d live with overboard if it prevented a mutiny.

The Irish government are closely watching the drama unfold, as are all European leaders.

They will want her to survive this latest drama because what’s the alternative?

Theresa May speaking during a cabinet meeting at Chequers yesterday. A new UK-European Union free trade area for goods will be created under Brexit plans thrashed out by ministers at the meeting. Photo: Joel Rouse/PA
Theresa May speaking during a cabinet meeting at Chequers yesterday. A new UK-European Union free trade area for goods will be created under Brexit plans thrashed out by ministers at the meeting. Photo: Joel Rouse/PA

If the Brexiteers managed to oust Mrs May, the negotiations which are supposed to conclude in October would be totally derailed.

“A disorderly no deal would have profound consequences,” Mrs May said today, adding: “I believe the UK deserves better.”

A hard Brexit with all the risks of a border on the island of Ireland would be inevitable.

Another snap election could throw up any result and maybe catapult Jeremy Corbyn into power.

The stakes are incredibly high for all involved, especially Ireland.

Speaking in a rowdy Commons just moments after Mr Johnson confirmed his resignation, the Prime Minister said a “frictionless” border must be maintained.

Her current plan – that was agreed by her Cabinet on Friday including Davis and Johnson - seeks to keep the UK and the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.

Mrs May denies this will restrict the UK’s ability to strike trade deals with countries like America.

In a resignation letter, Davis said the “’common rule book’ policy hands control of large swathes of the British economy to the EU.”

Football may or not be coming home – but it seems the Brexit chickens are definitely coming home to roost.

Read more here: Brexit latest: Boris Johnson resigns as British foreign secretary

Read more here: 'Business as usual' despite Brexit Secretary's resignation - Coveney

Read more here: Sterling rallies as investors bet softer Brexit more likely after resignation

Read more here: Dominic Raab appointed Brexit Secretary following resignation of David Davis

Read more here: 'Less and less likely' that Brexit will deliver - the reasons for David Davis's resignation

Online Editors