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Boris Johnson urges 'so-called friends' to stop briefing against May

Boris Johnson urges 'so-called friends' to stop briefing against May

LONDON - Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure from leading Brexiteers to sack Chancellor Philip Hammond, as Conservative party infighting over Brexit continues.

Mr Johnson's comments come as Mrs May has earmarked billions of pounds for Brexit should a deal not be reached as we leave the EU.

British Prime Minister Theresa May signalled in an interview that she might demote Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a Sunday newspaper said, after she faced an open rebellion from within her party this week.

Asked what she might do with him, May said "It has never been my style to hide from a challenge and I'm not going to start now".

May faced fresh calls to quit following a chaotic speech at the conference that she nearly failed to finish after a prolonged coughing fit.

The foreign secretary's intervention, in a message to a WhatsApp group of Conservative MPs, follows an article in the Telegraph on Monday in which unnamed backers of Johnson said he might refuse to move if May tries to demote him in a reshuffle.

Removing May now would throw Brexit negotiations into disarray.

'I never discuss whether reshuffles are or are not taking place, ' he said.

Over the weekend, however, pro-Brexit MPs hit back, urging Mrs May to get rid of chancellor Philip Hammond, who has argued for a "softer", pro-business Brexit that would protect jobs and investment. On Sunday, May also received strong backing from Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, who took a thinly veiled swipe at Johnson.

Ms Sturgeon has put the reigns on her campaign for Scottish independence as she pushes to secure the best Brexit deal for Scotland, querying how much money Scotland would get when the United Kingdom leaves the EU. "It's all about delivering for the country".

Asked about Mr Johnson, Sir Michael added: "And the Foreign Secretary".

"Goddammit she's the prime minister of a G7 country, she didn't get there by luck or by default".

Concerned that May's government will collapse before Brexit is complete, European Union negotiators have held more frequent back-room talks with the opposition Labour party, the Telegraph reported, citing people it didn't identify.

"They certainly don't want to see a Tory leadership contest that would inevitably trigger further demands for an election".

But Mrs May's troubled week was seized on by political opponents, with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon telling the same programme the Tory leader is "a very weak Prime Minister presiding over a totally divided party".

I'm actually getting a bit narked and I'm sure there's quite a lot of women out there that are (getting) a bit narked at how many male commentators are talking about male cabinet ministers deciding what she should or shouldn't do as if she has no agency in this herself.


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