LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson is sticking to his Brexit plan and will not seek a delay to Britain’s departure from the European Union at a summit next month, two ministers said on Sunday despite the latest resignation from his government.
After work and pensions minister Amber Rudd’s quit late on Saturday over his Brexit policy, the ministers said Johnson was determined to “keep to the plan” to leave the EU by Oct. 31 with or without a deal to ease the transition.
Johnson’s strategy to leave “do or die” by that deadline has been shaken by the events of recent days, which have prompted critics to describe him as a “tin pot dictator” and deepened uncertainty over how Britain’s 2016 vote to leave the EU will play out.
He has lost his Conservative government’s majority in parliament, expelled 21 rebels from the party and failed to force through a new election. Then his own brother quit, saying he was torn between family loyalty and the national interest.
Saturday’s resignation of Rudd – who backed remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum when Britain voted 52%-48% to leave – over what she called the government’s disproportionate focus on preparing for a no-deal Brexit has only heightened the sense of crisis.
On Sunday, Rudd denied she was accusing the government of lying over its efforts to negotiate a Brexit deal, saying she was just reporting what she had seen.
“I am saying that 80 to 90% of the work that I can see going on on the EU relationship is about preparation for no deal. It’s about disproportion,” she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
“The purpose of this resignation is to make the point that the Conservative Party at its best should be a moderate party that embraces people with different views of the EU.”