Brian Monteith: May must resign and be replaced by true Brexiteer

Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of Theresa May's premiership? With genuine disappointment, I have to say I hope so.

Boris Johnson's resignation as Foreign Secretary has increased the pressure on Theresa May (Picture: AP)
Boris Johnson's resignation as Foreign Secretary has increased the pressure on Theresa May (Picture: AP)

The resignation of David Davis and Steve Baker on Sunday, then Boris Johnson on Monday suggests if not the end then the beginning of the end. Why has it come to this?

There are those who have been quick to say how they are glad to see the back of Davis and especially Johnson, arguing they have not been up to their jobs.

In respect of Davis, I think that is highly disingenuous; having created the Department for Exiting the EU and putting him in charge of it, the Prime Minister then progressively emasculated him on developing the policy required to ensure “Brexit means Brexit”, leaving him with only the parliamentary process to oversee.

Davis was being treated abominably while she surrounded herself with Brexit-hating advisors Olly Robbins and Gavin Barwell, who were given the role Davis should have been delivering. Robbins and Barwell are not accountable – but as the Prime Minister’s trusted officials, the buck stops with her.

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Brian Monteith: Brexit no longer means Brexit

Johnson was ill-suited to the role of Foreign Secretary, and it showed, but is not the buffoon some allege.

A good Mayor of London (as his successor Sadiq Khan is demonstrating) Boris is far more able and thoughtful than given credit for, but discretion is not in his armoury.

A crowd pleaser for many Conservatives, he should have been moved to the role of party chairman, where he could have raised morale and gone on the political offensive – rather than being offensive to our allies and enemies alike.

It was Johnson, however, who stood up to the Prime Minister before last October’s Tory party conference when she was already deviating from her own promises to take us out of the Single Market and Customs Union and Johnson who would throw his weight in Cabinet when others would not speak up.

Now, with Davis and Johnson gone – and Michael Gove going rogue by being the first to ditch his colleagues and being all things to everyone – who will speak up to make Theresa May be true to her word?

The reason May’s premiership has descended into chaos is, like so many of our political leaders, she said she would do one thing and then did the exact opposite.

She has broken the trust that people placed in her and must reap the consequences.

Over the last year, she has conspired to betray her own party and many who held their noses and voted Tory for the first time or voted “leave” and thought she would deliver Brexit.

By repeatedly saying over and over again that we will leave the Single Market and Customs Union and be outside the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice, she has been believed as being as good as her word.

To now try and pass off the UK remaining in the Single Market for only goods and foods and accept “common rules” is to use weasel words. What we shall be accepting is the whole EU rule book, the Acquis Communautaire, meaning we shall not be free to make our own rules and, as a direct result, not be able to establish trade agreements with the US, Australia, China and others.

One example of what this means is we shall not be able to prevent live animals being exported for slaughter, a horrible practice the EU insists on keeping. There will now be countless other bad laws we cannot change.

The Prime Minister’s Chequers policy will unravel, for the EU will use it as the starting point to demand further concessions.

Why have a referendum, why put pledges in manifestoes, only to ignore them?

Theresa May has brought this chaos on herself and the only way to correct it is for her to hand over to someone who believes in Brexit and keeps their word.