By Diane Cooke
The not-too-shock resignations of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have led to much speculation about ousting Theresa May as Prime Minister.
Mrs May has vowed to fight any attempt to oust her after Mr Johnson, once seen as her strongest rival for the Conservative party leadership, quit as foreign secretary and said her Brexit plan would leave Britain with “the status of colony”.
Mr Johnson’s resignation followed Sunday night’s departure of David Davis, the Brexit secretary, who said Mrs May’s proposal to keep Britain closely aligned to rules set by Brussels risked betraying the result of the 2016 referendum on EU membership.
The one thing stopping many Conservative MPs from working 'a Thatcher' on Mrs May is the fact that it could put Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn in her place.
Indeed, Labour has seized on the departures to demand that Mrs May call a General Election.
Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner wrote on Twitter: “Boris Johnson has now resigned, the HMS Tory Party is sinking fast, Tories cannot even move the deckchairs around as there is nobody to sit in them any more.”
The odds of a General Election have dramatically fallen as bookies slashed prices following the resignations.
Bookmaker Betfair reduced its odds of an election from 5-1 on Sunday to 6-4 by Monday afternoon.
Theresa May is 2/1 to announce her resignation by the end of the week. However, Michael Gove was named as favourite to take over the Foreign Secretary role, but that went to Jeremy Hunt, so maybe bookies aren't the best source for predictions.
James Moore, writing for The Independent was unimpressed by the appointment of Hunt saying: "You may recall (Prof Stephen) Hawking’s broadside against Tory NHS policy in a talk at the Royal Society of Medicine. It took aim at the funding squeeze instituted by the party, Hunt’s oversight of the creeping privatisation of the service, the pay cap that led to the Royal College of Nursing reporting that growing numbers of nursing staff were using food banks, taking on second jobs and getting into debt.
"Sir Stephen made an eminently sensibly call for health policymaking to be based upon peer reviewed research and proper evidence. In response, Hunt had the gall to accuse the late scientific great of “pernicious falsehood”. That’s right; Jeremy Hunt, a sleazy politician, said that of a man whose life was devoted to the pursuit of fact. The Sunday Telegraph even afforded him the luxury of a column to vent his spleen.
"And people wonder why journalists are held in low regard."
Meanwhile, the much-awaited Brexit white paper will be published tomorrow, No 10 has confirmed at the post-cabinet lunchtime briefing. There had been suggestions it might be delayed until next week.
There was no discussion of Boris Johnson’s resignation statement at cabinet, Theresa May’s spokesman said. May expressed thanks for the work of Johnson and David Davis before ministers talked about Brexit ahead of the white paper, a discussion led by the new Brexit minister Dominic Raab.
In conclusion, Theresa May is being held hostage by a rebellious faction of her own party who don’t have the votes to actually see her off. That means that Britain is being led by a prime minister who lacks a parliamentary majority on the most fundamental issue to face the nation in decades.
From this point on, anything is possible.