Mon, 20 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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David Gauke: I will quit Cabinet on Wednesday if Boris Johnson becomes Prime Minister

2 min read

David Gauke has confirmed that he will resign from the Government on Wednesday if Boris Johnson wins the race to be Prime Minister.

The Justice Secretary, who has served in the Cabinet since Theresa May took office in 2016, said he could not sit on the frontbench while the ex-Foreign Secretary pursued a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Johnson, who has said he will pull Britain out of the bloc "do or die" on 31 October, is expected to be confirmed as the new Tory leader on Tuesday.

Mrs May will take Prime Minister's Questions the following day before formally leaving Number 10.

Mr Gauke, who said a no-deal departure would be a “national humiliation”, said would resign before her successor takes over.

“Given that I’ve been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her,” he wrote in The Sunday Times.

He added: “If the test of loyalty to stay in the Cabinet is a commitment to support no-deal on October 31 — which, to be fair to him, Boris has consistently said — then that’s not something I’m prepared to sign up to.

“I recognise that this spell in government is coming to an end. Given that I’ve been in the Cabinet since Theresa May came to power, I think the appropriate thing is for me to resign to her.”

The paper added that Chancellor Philip Hammond and International Development Secretary Rory Stewart are among up to a dozen ministers planning to quit rather than serve in a Johnson government.

It also reports that up to six Conservative MPs are considering defecting to the Liberal Democrats, in a move that could leave Mr Johnson without a majority in the Commons.

Sources close to Lib Dem leadership hopeful, Ed Davey, told the paper: “Boris Johnson’s threat to close down Parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit was the final straw for a number of Conservative MPs.

“With the sitting chancellor Philip Hammond talking openly about voting to bring down his own government if it pursues a hard Brexit, the growing sense is of numerous Conservative MPs now willing to put country before party.

“It is uncertain yet exactly where this new level of cross-party co-operation will go but it is clear several Conservative MPs are seriously considering their positions.”

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