Trump likes Johnson for PM, hopes ‘friend’ May does well with Brexit

Trump backs Boris Johnson for British prime minister amid Brexit turmoil but says of Theresa May: ‘She’s tough. She’s in there fighting.’

  • Victory for May would keep alive the prospect of Britain leaving the EU on May 22, subject to more votes 
  • Latest round of procedural wrangling comes after May’s promise to quit to get the deal through 
  • Tory leadership race is now in full swing today with candidates including Boris Johnson looking to out-outmaneuver one another 
  • May’s deal and Johnson’s candidacy got a boost on Thursday evening from U.S. President Donald Trump 
  • ‘Well, she’s a very nice lady, she’s a friend of mine, I hope she does well. I hope the Brexit movement and everything happening there goes very well,’ he told White House reporters
  •  Trump seemed to approve of Johnson taking over, saying in response to a question about his becoming prime minister, ‘I like Boris Johnson a lot. He’s a friend of mine’
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President Donald Trump said he considers Boris Johnson and Theresa May to be friends of his, and he hopes the U.K. prime minister who’s offered to step down ‘does well’ tomorrow in tomorrow’s Brexit vote.

‘Well, she’s a very nice lady, she’s a friend of mine, I hope she does well. I hope the Brexit movement and everything happening there goes very well. But Theresa May’s a very good woman, and I’ll tell you what, she’s strong, she’s tough and she’s in there fighting,’ he said as he left the White House on Thursday afternoon.

May yesterday offered to stand down if her deal passes, in return for the votes of Johnson and his fellow Brexit backers. He sensationally supported the deal, then turned on her and labeled it dead. He now says she should step down, even if her Brexit plot doesn’t pan out.

Trump seemed to approve of Johnson replacing her, saying in response to a question about his becoming prime minister, ‘I like Boris Johnson a lot. He’s a friend of mine.’ 

He was not asked about other potential candidates for the job in the exchange just before he took off for a campaign rally in Michigan.


President Donald Trump said he considers Boris Johnson and Theresa May to be friends of his, and he hopes the U.K. prime minister who’s offered to step down ‘does well’ tomorrow in tomorrow’s Brexit vote

May is rolling the dice on another vote on her divorce deal tomorrow after finding a way around the speaker of the House of Commons’ opposition to her Brexit plan.  

‘I know there is a desire for new leadership’: May’s promise to QUIT if MPs vote for the deal  

‘This has been a testing time for our country and our party. We’re nearly there. We’re almost ready to start a new chapter and build that brighter future.

‘But before we can do that, we have to finish the job in hand. As I say, I don’t tour the bars and engage in the gossip – but I do make time to speak to colleagues, and I have a great team in the Whips’ Office. I also have two excellent PPSs.

‘And I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party. I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new leadership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.

‘I know some people are worried that if you vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, I will take that as a mandate to rush on into phase two without the debate we need to have. I won’t – I hear what you are saying.

‘But we need to get the deal through and deliver Brexit.

She addded: ‘I am prepared to leave this job earlier than I intended in order to do what is right for our country and our party.

‘I ask everyone in this room to back the deal so we can complete our historic duty – to deliver on the decision of the British people and leave the European Union with a smooth and orderly exit.’

She hopes the symbolism of March 29, what was to be Brexit Day, will be enough to persuade Tory Brexiteer rebels and the Democratic Union Party to finally back down and endorse the deal. The Democratic Unionist Part confirmed Thursday night they would vote ‘No’ in the vote on Friday, however.

After losing by 149 Members of Parliament in the second ‘meaningful vote’ on March 12, May needs 75 additional votes to be victorious. If the DUP votes No, as expected, she needs every Tory rebel to return or win over Labour MPs instead.  More than 50 Tories are still declared against – suggesting defeat up of up to 100 votes for her.

If May’s government wins, it would mean Britain is on track to leave the EU on May 22. But it would not count as a proper vote to ratify the deal, as it excludes the political declaration.

May will aim to renegotiate the political declaration if MPs back the divorce deal part of the package tomorrow and hope to ratify the whole deal in a later vote.  

The PM offered to stand down and sacrifice her job in return for the backing of Tory rebel MPs, including Johnson, but it still looks unlikely that she has the numbers to win a vote after the DUP refused to fall in line and support her. 

More chaos looms if the vote does not succeed tomorrow: Britain’s departure from the EU will be rescheduled to April 12 and MPs will then try to take control of the process and likely attempt to force May to adopt a softer Brexit. Ministers have threatened to call a general election if that happens.  

MPs have been ordered to attend Parliament tomorrow, cancelling what was supposed to be a day with their constituents.


The Prime Minister will use what was supposed to be Brexit Day to hold a vote on just the legally binding divorce deal and not the political declaration – meaning the Speaker could not rule it out




Boris Johnson today branded Theresa May’s Brexit deal ‘dead’ – less than 24 hours after he sensationally backed it  – and will call on Mrs May to quit even if she doesn’t deliver Brexit


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    • What next? After May told her party she was ready to quit… Does May have any hope of winning tomorrow’s vote?… Boris goes for the kill: Johnson says Theresa May’s deal is…

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    Javid and Gove consider ‘stop Boris’ joint bid for Tory leadership after May

    Sajid Javid is floating the idea of a ‘dream ticket’ with Michael Gove as Chancellor that could see him become Prime Minister and would also shut Boris Johnson out of Downing Street, MailOnline can reveal today.

    The pair are mulling whether Jeremy Hunt could be offered Home Secretary to drop his candidacy as part of the pact, while fellow Brexiteers Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom could also be handed promotions to fall into line, allies of Mr Javid have suggested.

    The ‘Stop Boris’ plot came as Mr Johnson – who is joint-favourite with Mr Gove to be the next Tory leader – backed Mrs May’s Brexit deal only to pronounce it ‘dead’ hours later.

    The Prime Minister yesterday offered to sacrifice her leadership to win rebel Tories’ backing for her deal, saying she will quit on May 22 if her deal passes this week.

    If the deal does not pass by tomorrow, May could stay and Brexit will thrown into chaos with rebel MPs trying to force a softer exit from the EU and ministers threatening to call an election.

    But Boris is now reportedly insisting Mrs May steps down even if her deal fails. MailOnline can reveal there are genuine fears that unless Mr Johnson’s rivals agree a deal ahead of a leadership campaign their support could splinter, opening the door for the former Foreign Secretary to take over. 

    As many as eight Cabinet ministers are expected to put their names forward and several are already out on manoeuvres today with former Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab positioning himself as the No Deal candidate.

    Speaking today he said Mrs May should return to Brussels and demand they reopen negotiations so Britain can achieve a ‘legally-binding exit from the Irish backstop’.

    He added: ‘I think we should have sensible conversations over the two weeks we’ve got left around the suite of No Deal arrangements that can be made to mitigate any of the potential damage on either side’.   

     

    The DUP’s continued refusal to back the deal makes it an impossible mission – but passing the divorce deal this week is the only way to leave the EU by May 22.

    The prime minister must secure Commons approval for her deal by 11pm on Friday if the U.K. is to be given an automatic delay to the negotiated date of May 22 to leave the EU. 

    House of Commons Speaker Bercow threw a wrench in May’s plans by insisting any new vote be on a ‘substantially’ different question to the last one. 

    Bercow admitted Thursday’s motion from the government ‘complies with the test’ because it is ‘new and substantially different’ in a win for May.

    Labour’s shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer said his party would oppose the divorce treaty if it was presented alone – insisting the party will not back a ‘blind Brexit’ in the vote on Friday.

    He said: ‘As the EU has made clear and as the Prime Minister has made clear, the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration are part of the same negotiated package. You can’t have one without the other.

    ‘The problem going ahead with just the Withdrawal Agreement is it’s a completely blind Brexit. It tells you nothing about where you are heading.

    ‘That’s been made a lot worse by Theresa May saying yesterday she is going to step down as Prime Minister. So we don’t even know who is going to take over and where they are going to take this.

    ‘You can’t separate them, this isn’t going to work. It’s a desperate measure,’ he argued.

    Friday’s debate, on a day when the Commons was not due to be sitting, is dependent on a business motion being moved and passed by the House and on Bercow deeming that the government’s proposal is in line with parliamentary rules which ban the same motion being repeatedly tabled. 

    Amid the wider political chaos, Johnson today pronounced May’s Brexit deal ‘dead.’ He appeared to turn on the PM, insisting May step down, even if her deal fails, according to allies who spoke to the Evening Standard.

    His U-turn comes after the DUP and up to 25 hardcore Tory rebels said they would still oppose the deal, seemingly sinking any chance of it passing this week. 

    If the deal fails, Britain is on track for a No Deal Brexit on April 12 unless a longer extension is negotiated with Brussels or Brexit it cancelled altogether.  

    On Monday, MPs will continue their attempts to force a soft Brexit such as a Customs Union on May before April 12 – and her ministers have threatened to call a general election rather than be railroaded into breaking her manifesto promises.

    If the government does call an election, it is likely to ask for another delay to Brexit from the EU so May can step down and a new Tory leader can be selected.

    The PM’s would-be successors including favorites Michael Gove and Boris are already circling, the latter after finally supporting her deal despite months of trashing it.

    The stiff opposition to May’s deal from Tory rebels was summed by Mark Francois, who said:  ‘I wouldn’t vote for it if they put a shotgun in my mouth. I am not voting for the deal on the basis of who is or is not the Prime Minister.

    ‘I am not voting for the deal because I have read it. Nothing has changed – so I’m still happy to vote it down. The British people voted to leave the European Union – let’s just leave,’ he said.

    David Cameron refuses to say who he thinks should replace Theresa May 


    Former prime minister David Cameron  today urged warring MPs to ‘compromise’ to get some sort of Brexit deal through the ‘stuck’ Parliament.

    The ex-Tory leader, who quit after leaving the failed Remain campaign in the 2016 election said two of four main factions in the Commons – spanning all opinions on Brexit – would have to ‘compromise’.

    But he declined to say who he would back to replace Theresa May when she stands down, telling ITV News: ‘It’s not for me to say.’

    He said: ‘The basic problem is that Parliament is stuck.

    ‘There are four groups in Parliament; people who want the PM’s deal, people who want no deal, people who want a second referendum and people who want a softer Brexit.

    ‘We – the Government – has to try and find a way of getting at least two of those groups to work together, to combine their options, to compromise to find that partnership agreement and I hope that is what will happen.’

    Yesterday, in an emotional speech, May told Tory MPs she would quit ‘earlier than intended’ if Parliament backed her withdrawal agreement.   

    There were initial signs that her gamble might pay off when a string of Eurosceptic MPs, led by Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith, said they would now swing behind her.

    But, in a bombshell announcement, the DUP said it would not support the agreement because it posed ‘an unacceptable risk to the integrity of the UK.’

    The party’s deputy leader Nigel Dodds indicated it would vote against the plan, saying: ‘We don’t abstain when it comes to the Union.’

    The DUP’s support is seen as critical to unlocking the backing of dozens of Eurosceptic MPs, and May’s close friend Damian Green, a former minister, says the PM will not give up trying.

    If her deal fails, then Parliament is likely to demand she asks the EU for a softer Brexit or draw up a second referendum – and the PM would then be expected to call a general election because it would tear up the Tory manifesto.

    She has not ruled out staying to lead the party in a snap election, but allies said that they hoped she will because she is seen as one of the few ‘adults in the room,’ one source told The Times. 

    Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he still backs the PM’s deal and is hoping the DUP ‘come over’ to it. He praised May’s behavior and said she ‘deserves support.’ 

    Asked if he would be speaking to the DUP’s leader after she again ruled out backing the deal on Wednesday night, he said: ‘I have no plans to speak to Arlene Foster but I do have conversations with the DUP from time to time in the ordinary course of events.’

    He added: ‘The Prime Minister behaved very nobly yesterday and I think she does deserve support at this stage.

    ‘I don’t like her deal. I make no bones about this. I don’t think the deal’s suddenly got better, simply that the alternative is now worse,’ he said. ‘It’s not having any Brexit at all and it’s letting down the 17.4 million people who voted to leave.’

    Green, Theresa May’s former de facto deputy, has said she will carry on.

    ‘She will take the path of soldiering on because she sees the great duty of her and her Government is to get a Brexit deal. She will carry on for as long as she is Prime Minister doing that,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

    He added: ‘Absolutely the last thing the country would need now would be a prime minister who walked away and said, “OK, choose someone else.” This is very serious. The next few days are really the crunch.’ 

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      Tory leadership candidate Michael Gove leaves home for a run today today as the Prime Minister fights to save her deal. Jacob Rees-Mogg (pictured today) has urged hardline Eurosceptics to back Theresa May or face losing Brexit

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            Green said the choice for MPs now lay between May’s deal and a customs union – the option that came closest to winning a majority in Wednesday’s indicative votes.

            ‘If you want a deal, the choice is now between the Government’s deal or a customs union. The customs union was only eight votes off winning yesterday,’ he said. ‘That’s a slightly softer Brexit than the Government’s deal. So that’s the choice that faces MPs, even the most hard Brexit MPs.’

            David Lidington, effectively Theresa May’s deputy prime minister, meanwhile pleaded with MPs to back the Brexit deal.

            At the British Chambers of Commerce conference he said: ‘I recognize the real frustration that uncertainty around this process has caused in the business community.’ 

            He said, ‘From the Prime Minister down, the Government is doing all it can to secure a Brexit that does follow the result of the 2016 referendum but does so in a way that protects jobs and economic growth.’

            Lidington acknowledged that a ‘chaotic, disorganized Brexit without an agreed deal is something we should not be seeking to have.’

             

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