British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday soldiered on with a rare move of directly addressing the public’s questions over their Brexit concerns amid an ongoing rebellion within her own Conservative Party over a controversial European Union (EU) withdrawal agreement.
A day after she was hit by a number of ministerial resignations, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab who stepped down over “fatal flaws” in the divorce deal with the EU, there are reports that his potential replacement may also be pondering stepping down from the Cabinet.
Michael Gove, who is the current environment secretary, was reportedly asked to step in as the new Secretary of State for Exiting the EU but he has been reluctant.
“I haven’t appointed a new Dexeu (Department for Exiting the European Union) secretary yet and I will be making appointments to the government in due course,” May said during her phone-in with London’s LBC radio, when asked about the issue.
Confronted by some angry callers over allowing the UK to be locked into following EU laws with this agreement, she said, “We are not being locked in, we are taking control of our laws, our borders, leaving the single market and we are ending free movement. These are the things the British people were most concerned about. That is what the people voted for and that is what I am delivering”.
“I am doing my job. I am bringing back what I believe to be the best deal for Britain and MPs will then do their job, thinking about the impact of that on their constituents,” she added.
According to some reports, such a vote could be held as soon as Monday if the 48-MP mark is crossed on Friday.
Meanwhile, the EU has already indicated that it was not willing to re-negotiate another deal and is keen to press ahead with getting the remaining 27 member-states to sign off on the current plan.
Britain had voted in favour of Brexit in a referendum in June 2016, which led to the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to set the clock on the country’s formal exit from the 28-member bloc by March 29, 2019.
The controversial withdrawal agreement is the result of months of negotiations on both sides and is crucial for the exit process to be completed within the set time-frame.
However, if an orderly exit arrangement cannot be finalised, Britain faces the prospect of crashing out of the EU without any deal, which would open up a whole new set of complications.