Who could replace Theresa May as PM
Theresa May: "Get to work"
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Britain's new Prime Minister Theresa May has urged its senior ministers to "get down to work" on the EU exit. At her first cabinet meeting on Tuesday, she said: "We are facing the challenge of Brexit. And Brexit means Brexit."
May had spoken out in favor of remaining in the EU in the run-up to the referendum. Now she seems to want to leave no doubt that she intends to implement the British vote. During the 90-minute meeting, she said that she would ensure that Brexit would be a "success" and that Britain would take on "a new role in the world". At the same time, May let it be known that her government should not be "defined" by leaving the EU alone: "We will also be a government that is defined by the social reforms that we will introduce."
The new Prime Minister is said to have an authoritarian style of leadership from her time as Interior Minister. This also shimmers through in the new task: May let it be known that she would head three government committees that will deal with economic strategy, the exit from the EU and social reforms. A spokeswoman made visible efforts to reject suspicions that May wanted to keep her ministers on a short leash. Rather, the fields of work that the committees are supposed to deal with are the core of May's agenda.
Starting difficulties in Brussels
Even the seating arrangement during the Downing Street meeting spoke volumes about how much Brexit will dominate government affairs in the coming months. Next to May sat Boris Johnson, one of the leaders LeaveActivists. His appointment as Foreign Minister last week caused quite a stir: France's Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault described Johnson, unflatteringly, as a liar with his back to the wall. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier apparently caught Johnson's appointment as foreign minister cold: a few hours before his appointment, he described Johnson as "irresponsible" in a speech. Johnson's behavior in the run-up to the referendum was "outrageous," said Steinmeier.
Johnson's first assignment as Foreign Minister on Sunday was not a lucky star. His plane, which had started from Northolt Air Force Base, had to make an emergency landing at London's Luton Airport due to technical problems. The destination of the trip was, of all things: Brussels. Numerous commentators insisted on pointing out the irony involved. Johnson survived the incident unscathed and arrived late in the evening with a replacement machine in Brussels, where he met with the EU foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini.
On Tuesday, Johnson sat next to David Davis, another leading Brexit supporter, during the cabinet meeting. Davis heads the newly established Department for Leaving the European Union. Only a few days before his appointment as minister, Davis described the opportunities that would arise from a Brexit in the most dazzling colors. In doing so, however, he kept silent about the immense organizational problems that the British bureaucracy is therefore facing. The address of his ministry also says something about the central role Brexit will play in the coming period: Davis is currently moving into number 9 Downing Street, right next to May's seat of government.
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