Brexit rebels deny plot to oust Prime Minister Theresa May | News | DW | 12.09.2018
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages


Brexit rebels deny plot to oust Prime Minister Theresa May

Opponents to Prime Minister May's plans for exiting the EU appeared to back down after reports 50 lawmakers discussed how to oust her. More proposals for the Irish border saw the light of day.

Hardline Brexiteers lined up on Wednesday to pledge their support for the British prime minister after reports of a dinner the night before when about 50 of them openly discussed a change of leadership.

Backtracking at various speeds after the weekly prime minister's questions in parliament, the Brexiteers also appeared to distance themselves from former foreign secretary Boris Johnson's comparison of May's Brexit plan to a "suicide vest" on Britain's constitution.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said "I disagree with her on one issue." He added: "She should stay in place because we need stability and we need decent government."

Environment Secretary and Brexiteer Michael Gove claimed in a radio interview on Wednesday not to have attended the dinner and urged Conservatives to get behind May, who he said was "doing a brilliant job" negotiating Brexit. When asked if there should be a leadership challenge, he replied "no."

May's spokesman said she would fight any attempt to oust her and would pursue what he described as the only credible plan for Brexit, the one agreed at the Chequers country house in July. This outline of a proposal to Brussels sparked the resignations of her Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Under party rules, a leadership election would be held if 48 of the 315 Conservative members of parliament wrote demanding a vote of no confidence in parliament. If May survived such a vote, another one could not be held for a year.

Irish border question

A major sticking point in the negotiations is how to agree for a British withdrawal from Europe without reinstalling a hard border between the UK province of Northern Ireland with the Republic to the south.

On Wednesday, the main Brexit group in parliament, known as the European Research Group (ERG), announced its proposal for dealing with the issue. Customs declarations could be made ahead of travel, and goods could be inspected before they were shipped, the ERG suggested.

Read more: Is the Brexit hard-liner European Research Group running the UK?

Similar proposals have been rejected by the UK government in the past. "We have been working on the issue of the Northern Irish border for two years," May's spokesman said on Wednesday. "We have looked at a significant number of potential solutions and we believe that the plan put forward by Chequers is the only credible and negotiable one."

The Irish border

The Irish border

The deputy leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) which props up the minority Conservative government in Westminster claimed that infrastructure would not be needed on the Northern Irish border — with or without a deal with the EU.

The DUP's Nigel Dodds told reporters on Wednesday that he believed another solution would be found for the border: "Any plan that will eventually be discussed in parliament at the outcome of the negotiations will probably in all certainty be not the plans that have currently been put forward."

May and Chancellor Angela Merkel at the EU summit in Brussels in June

May and Chancellor Angela Merkel at the EU summit in Brussels in June

Next round in Salzburg

The next stage in negotiations is expected to come after an informal meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg next week when May will present her case. On Wednesday she told MPs that if there was no deal, the payment of the €40-billion-plus 'divorce' bill could be withheld: "Without a deal, the position changes," May said.

There have been press reports of a special EU summit in November when leaders could formally agree to the terms of the British exit.

The UK is due to leave the EU, with or without a deal, on March 29 next year.

Watch video 03:12

Brexit: Uncertainty at the Irish border

jm/rc (Reuters, AP)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.


DW recommends

WWW links

Audios and videos on the topic