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Turmoil in UK continues

Turmoil in UK continues

With the dramatic resignation of Brexit Minister David Davis, British Prime Minister Theresa May and her government are in an awful predicament. Indeed, the man responsible for overseeing the UK's exit from the European Union has gone, citing irreconcilable differences with May. The departure of such a key minister could lead to further resignations, as it has with that of the expected exit of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson (replaced by Jeremy Hunt), and throw May's government into chaos just as it enters a key period of negotiations with the EU. Interestingly, it comes as May is preparing for a state visit by US President Donald Trump, later this week, and faces a potential new international crisis after a British citizen died as a result of being exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Davis' resignation follows on the heels of a "business-friendly" plan for Brexit agreed by May and her government on Friday at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country house. The proposal, which was announced at the end of a crucial summit, seeks to preserve frictionless goods trade for the EU and avoid border checks and tariffs, most feared by manufacturing companies. The EU has long maintained that countries outside the single market cannot enjoy its benefits, and exiting it could lead to a hard border in Ireland that could reverse Northern Ireland's hard-won peace. Not unexpectedly, Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the resignations "at such a crucial time" show that May "has no authority left". One of the many Euroskeptics in May's Cabinet, Davis was a high profile supporter of the Leave campaign during the Brexit referendum, while the Prime Minister supported remaining within the EU. During his time as Brexit secretary, he clashed with May repeatedly and his resignation risks widening divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, with all eyes on Dominic Raab who has replaced him. Jacob Rees-Mogg, a potential successor to May, retweeted a snap poll of party members which showed that three in five thought May's plan was a "bad deal". The government currently only has a whisker-thin majority, thanks to the support of the right-wing Northern Irish Democratic Union Party (DUP). Another general election could be called if May loses a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons. Polls have consistently put the Conservatives neck and neck with Labour, at roughly 40 per cent each, though Corbyn's party previously saw a boost once the election campaigning began. A recent YouGov survey found that 69 per cent of the respondents thought that Brexit was going badly, with two-thirds blaming the government. Precisely how an embattled May holds on to her flock remains to be seen.

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