Jeremy Hunt replaces Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary

Jul 13, 2018, 02:27
Jeremy Hunt replaces Boris Johnson as UK Foreign Secretary

The UK has spoken of boosting the Commonwealth and forging a free trade pact with India after Brexit, but that will not be easy if Britain refuses to budge from its tough position on movement of people and visas.

Liam Fox said the agreement, which sparked the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis, was created to be a "credible offer" to Brussels to allow negotiations to make progress.

"The Government now has a song to sing".

"They will put into law the government's stated position that we will not be part of the EU VAT regime", he added.

May said she now wanted to advance the Brexit talks, saying she had briefed European Union leaders on her plan in recent days and received a "positive reaction". "So I think that symbolises how he considers the importance of her leadership in this country right now".

He is replaced at Health and Social Care by Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who will in turn be succeeded by Attorney General Jeremy Wright.

Under the plans, Britain would stick to a "common rulebook" with the European Union for goods and agricultural products in return for free trade, without tariffs or border customs checks.

The Kremlin said it hoped for an improvement in ties following the departure of Johnson, who had angered Moscow with his vociferous accusations over the poisoning with a nerve agent of a Russian spy on English soil in March.

The FT said Britain wanted to be the country outside the bloc with the closest relationship in financial services to what will then be the EU's 27 member countries.

The prime minister's official spokesman said she would fight any attempt to oust her as prime minister if the required 48 Tory MPs called for a contest.

Pro-Europeans want to retain close economic ties with the bloc and its market of 500 million people, while some Brexit supporters want a clean break to make it possible to strike new trade deals around the world.

Speaking at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels, Mrs May repeated her assertion that the Chequers agreement delivered on her Brexit red lines - leaving the EU's single market and customs union.

"I had with David Davis a frank and cordial relationship, and now I will work next Monday with this negotiator appointed by Mrs May", he told AFP.

As head of the Brexit ministry, Davis was the public face of Britain's negotiating team, but in reality had been overshadowed for months by May and her aides.

Mr Davis, who has been Brexit Secretary since Mrs May became prime minister in 2016, said he had made compromises since taking on the role, but this was "one compromise too far". I wouldn't personally want to see us change Prime Minister in the middle of a set of negotiations where that would be seen as a sign of weakness by the Europeans. Her plan splits the difference between a stripped-down free-trade deal and the so-called Norway option of full single-market membership.

He claims crucial decisions have been postponed, including preparations for a "no-deal" scenario, "with the result that we appear to be heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the European Union system, but with no United Kingdom control over that system".

But many eurosceptic MPs are outraged at May's plan, and Davis's resignation letter was scathing.

Brexit minister Steve Baker has also resigned. "He s been very, very nice to me, very supportive".

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab is insisting the much-anticipated Government white paper setting out its exit aims is practical and respects the referendum result while backing business.

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