Theresa May to face full cabinet for first time amid leadership speculation
Theresa May will face her top team in full for the first time since the calamitous conference speech that further destabilised her leadership when the Cabinet meets at No 10.
The Prime Minister saw off a botched attempt to oust her in the hours after the address to Tory activists which was hit by a series of toe-curling setbacks, but faces continued speculation about her weakened authority.
Brexiteers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove gave a public display of loyalty on Monday by praising Mrs May’s statement to MPs on Brexit, despite the PM indicating European judges will still have a role during the UK’s transition out of the EU.
But the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning comes amid suggestions Mrs May is preparing to perform a reshuffle in an attempt at a show of strength, including moving the Foreign Secretary after weeks of perceived disloyalty.
Mr Johnson distanced himself from reports claiming he would resist any attempt to demote him and insisted “friends and allies” quoted in media reports were not speaking for him and did not represent his views.
Pro-Brexit MPs, meanwhile, urged Mrs May to get rid of Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has argued for a “softer” Brexit that would protect jobs and investment.
Mrs May told the House of Commons Britain will remain subject to the rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) during a transitional period lasting around two years after Brexit and did not rule out accepting new regulations imposed by Brussels.
The Prime Minister also said the UK would be ready for a failure to strike an exit deal, insisting the Government was “preparing for every eventuality”, but added it was in the interests of both sides to secure an agreement.
Mr Johnson, who said the UK must refuse to accept new EU or ECJ rulings during transition when he set out his Brexit red lines ahead of the Tory conference, issued a statement backing the Prime Minister’s “powerful vision”.
He said: “Great statement by the PM. Yes we will have a transition period but as she rightly says the chances of new EU regulations in that period are very small.
“And yes we will mostly have to operate under existing rules during the transition but we will be able to negotiate proper free trade deals and business will be able to prepare properly for Brexit.”
Environment Secretary Mr Gove said: “Strong statement from PM on Brexit - let’s be pragmatic over implementation to secure maximum freedom to diverge from EU in end state.”
Officials will continue negotiations on the divorce settlement in Brussels over the coming days with Brexit Secretary David Davis expected to return to the city on Thursday.