Three ministers set to resign if Johnson becomes PM: Report - GulfToday

Three ministers set to resign if Johnson becomes PM: Report


Boris Johnson arrives at his office in central London on Friday. Reuters

Three British cabinet ministers are set to resign the day Boris Johnson, if as expected, becomes Britain’s next prime minister, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday.

British justice minister David Gauke is set to resign soon after Theresa May completes her last prime minister’s questions on next Wednesday, the newspaper reported on its website.

Philip Hammond, the country’s finance minister, and Rory Stewart, the international development minister, are also considering leaving before Johnson becomes prime minister, the report said.

Johnson has the backbone to resist pressure from parliament to delay Brexit again even if it means leaving the European Union without a deal, a leading supporter said on Friday.

Asked whether the next prime minister might be forced by parliament to delay Brexit again, lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg told Radio 4 that the new PM would have the power to resist calls for another delay if he wanted to.

“The question will be does the prime minister have the backbone to go ahead and leave, and I think Boris Johnson does, or would the prime minister be in the same position as Theresa May, and give into this type of pressure,” Rees-Mogg said.

Meanwhile, a powerful committee of UK lawmakers said on the new prime minister must take a decision on whether to include China’s Huawei in Britain’s 5G telecoms network urgently as the ongoing debate is damaging international relations. Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by May, met to discuss Huawei in April and a decision was made to block the telecoms giant from all critical parts of the 5G network but to give it restricted access to less sensitive parts.

However, the United States has told allies not to use Huawei’s technology as it fears the company could be used by Beijing for spying operations. Conversely, China has warned Britain that excluding the firm could hurt investment and trade.

The final decision on Huawei was already supposed to have been taken by the British government but May’s decision to step down has stalled the process. Her replacement, either foreign minister Jeremy Hunt or Johnson who is the frontrunner, will be installed next week.

“The new prime minister must take a decision as a matter of priority,” said Dominic Grieve, chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).

In a statement, the ISC said Britain’s cyber security chiefs had been clear that the issue was not about one country or company, but that the system had to be able to withstand any attack, malicious action or simple human error.

It said this was best achieved by diversifying suppliers and the issue at the moment for 5G was that there were only three firms in the running — Huawei, Nokia and Ericsson. Over-dependence and less competition resulted in lower security standards, it said.

“Therefore including a third company — even if you may have some security concerns about them and will have to set a higher bar for security measures within the system — will, counter-intuitively, result in higher overall security,” the ISC said.

However, the committee acknowledged that the decision was not just technical and that the government had to take into account political concerns and so should not do anything to jeopardise the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Britain has kicked off a review of how regulation of finance could be improved after Brexit, saying it would not tweak the existing set-up of watchdogs introduced in the aftermath of the financial crisis a decade ago.

The European Union has been the source of financial rules in Britain for decades but that is due to end on Oct.31.

“It is now right that we step back to look at how the system is working more widely, and what changes may be needed in the future to adapt to the UK’s new position outside of the EU,” John Glen, Britain’s financial services minister, said in a statement on Friday.

Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and parliament’s Treasury Select Committee are also reviewing future regulation of finance, the economy’s biggest tax generating industry.

After the financial crisis forced taxpayers to bail out banks, Britain scrapped the Financial Services Authority.


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