May Could Shake Up Cabinet With Johnson in the Firing Line – Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May could soon be planning an overhaul of her team of top ministers in a bid to reassert her authority and end the government infighting that’s put Brexit talks in jeopardy.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Senior officials in May’s Conservative party, speaking on condition of anonymity, want her to deal with Boris Johnson, who has angered colleagues by forging his own path on Brexit in the run up to what proved a disastrous party conference for May this week in Manchester.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, May sent a strong signal about her intentions when asked specifically what she planned to do about her rebellious foreign secretary, the former London mayor who’s in the past been touted as a potential successor.

“It has never been my style to hide from a challenge and I’m not going to start now,” she told the newspaper. “I’m the PM, and part of my job is to make sure I always have the best people in my Cabinet.”

May faced fresh calls to quit following a chaotic speech at the conference that she almost failed to finish after a prolonged coughing fit. Grant Shapps, a former Conservative Party chairman, said on Friday he’s orchestrating a campaign to persuade her to step down — to which May responded by saying she’s providing the “calm leadership” the country needs.

Read more: With May’s Leadership in Doubt, Four Scenarios for Brexit

Removing May now would throw Brexit negotiations into disarray. It would take as long as three months for the Tories to pick a new leader, and there are just 18 months to go until Britain tumbles out of the bloc. May made some concessions to Europe in a speech in Florence on Sept. 22, injecting momentum into long-stalled talks.

With negotiations to resume on Monday in Brussels and investors rattled by the never-ending Westminster soap opera, May is moving to restore order. The reshuffle, according to the Sunday Times, would take place after an Oct. 19-20 summit in Brussels where May will be hoping for a breakthrough few think possible.


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