Theresa May is expecting Boris Johnson to remain in her Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, Downing Street has said. The comment came after Mr. Johnson dismissed reports that he might be on the verge of quitting and denied the Cabinet is split over Brexit, insisting: “We are a nest of singing birds.”
Mrs. May called a special meeting of Cabinet at Number 10 on Thursday to discuss her crunch Brexit speech in Italy the following day, which a Downing Street source said would be “a significant moment” in the process of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.
Speculation has been rife that Mr. Johnson may resign or be sacked after an explosive article setting out his personal blueprint for Brexit overshadowed the run-up to the Florence address.
The essay sparked reports that the Cabinet is split between those like Chancellor Philip Hammond, who favor an “EEA-minus” deal similar to Switzerland’s involving payments for access to the single market, and those including Mr. Johnson who prefer a “Ceta-plus” arrangement involving a simple free trade deal like Canada’s.
Mrs. May and Mr. Johnson were at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday, but her spokesman said they had not met since the Foreign Secretary’s intervention.
Asked if Mrs. May thought Mr Johnson would remain in the Cabinet beyond the weekend, the PM’s spokesman told reporters in New York: “Yes. Boris Johnson is the Foreign Secretary and, as the Prime Minister has said, he is doing a good job.”