Pressure is building on Britain’s Theresa May as Brexit and the ambitions of her foreign secretary widen divisions in the ruling Conservative Party:
- The Sunday Times reports that forty Conservative lawmakers are now calling for a confidence vote in May’s premiership, eight short of the number required to trigger a leadership election.
- Daily Mail reports that pro-Brexit ministers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are holding May hostage by threatening to walk out unless she pushes for a clean break with the EU.
- Gove and David Davis, another Brexit hardliner, have rushed to Johnson’s defense after the foreign secretary mistakingly said a British NGO worker was held in Iran for “simply teaching people journalism” there. Iranian prosecutors seized on his statement to argue for extending Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s prison sentence. She has been accused of plotting against the Iranian state.
The roots of the problem:
- May must balance factions supportive and skeptical of Brexit. If she is seen as too close to one side, the other will rebel.
- Johnson’s ambitions. He has always — and only — been interested in the top job. Read Martin Fletcher’s profile of him in the New Statesman for more.