More resignations hit May cabinet

The British Prime Minister loses two cabinet ministers, but retains support from key euro-sceptic allies

Theresa May continues to defend her proposed Brexit treaty, approved by her cabinet on Wednesday, as she faces further resignations from within her Conservative Party. Seven members have handed over their letters of resignation over Brexit so far, and most significantly, she has now lost the Brexit secretary, and the Minister of Work and Pensions from her cabinet. May rebuilt her government yesterday by appointing Stephen Barclay, a little-known health department official, who held a middling rank and is said to be very technical, to the position of Brexit Secretary. Barclay worked as a lawyer in the UK Financial Services Authority, the agency charged with fighting financial crime, for an insurance company, and also as a banker, as a director at Barclay’s bank. He moved into politics in 2010, and in 2017 May named him City Minister, the official responsible for the financial services sector. Barclay, who campaigned for the UK to leave the EU in the run-up to the referendum, is respected for his good relationships with the leaders of the City’s financial institutions. However, sources in Whitehall indicate that someone like him, with a lower profile, was sought out specifically by Theresa May, to leave the way clear for her to take a more direct hold on the reigns as the UK approaches the final negotiations in coming weeks. Yesterday May also announced that Amber Rudd would take on the newly-vacated position of Minister of Work and Pensions, replacing Esther McVey. The Prime Minister also expressed confidence that when parliament got to see the details of her agreement, they would “change their mind” about it. Referring to dissent coming from unionists in Northern Ireland, she asserted that she “continues to count on their support”.

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