Tory commons leader Andrea Leadsom has prepared to resign if British Prime Minister Theresa May reneges on promises to fully exit the European Union, The Independent reported on Friday.
Leadsom made the decision Thursday evening after a senior government ministers meeting, where the British prime minister unveiled details concerning the Irish border after Brexit. Senior officials attending the meeting included UK foreign minister Jeremy Hunt and home secretary Sajid Javid.
Leadsom, a fierce proponent for Brexit, has reportedly prepared to leave the administration if the prime minister supports policies that would permanently keep the UK in the European Union's customs area, and is taking into account "discussions that have taken place". Attendees of Ms. May's meeting reportedly warned that she could face retaliation unless she gave assurances that Britain would not remain in the EU's 'backstop'.
Other senior officials allegedly considering to leave their positions include UK secretary of work and pensions Esther McVey and secretary for international development Penny Mordaunt. Both did not attend the meeting, it was reported.
Prior to the meeting Ms. McVey repeatedly declined to say that she backed Theresa May's Chequers deal, stating instead that she was "100 percent behind the prime minister". Chancellor of the exchequers Philip Hammond was also optimistic about negotiations in Brussels, stating that a "measurable change in pace" had taken place over the last 10 days.
"There's a real sense now of engagement from both sides in shared enterprise of trying to solve a problem rather than posturing towards each other," Hammond said, adding that the progress was a "really important step change."
At the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting in Bali, Mr. Hammond told reporters that if the UK successfully negotiated the final terms of the deal, "there will be an upside dividend in terms of the economy and, consequently, the fiscal numbers, so that's the first bonus."