Resignations spark British government crisis

In the row over Britain's exit from the EU, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has followed Brexit Minister David Davis's lead and resigned. Both have criticised Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan as too soft. While some commentators are stunned that a country could intentionally press the self-destruct button, others hope that the EU will now be more conciliatory.

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Večernji list (HR) /

Unprecedented self-destruction

Britain's politicians seem to be realising only now what they are doing to their country, writes Večernji list:

“The Brexit is an example of a state destroying itself with a political nuclear bomb. The British referendum on leaving the EU is the worst instance of self-mutilation ever committed by a state and a society in times of peace. ... Normally people want to live better, but this time they made the choice to live worse, and now the politicians are grappling with how to deal with this worsening of their own state's position. How bad do you want things to be? Totally bad, medium bad or just a little bad?”

The Sun (GB) /

EU must be careful not to overplay its hand

In view of the turbulent times in London Brussels should show a sense of compliance in the Brexit talks, The Sun advises:

“Blunder after blunder, even down to treating her Cabinet like naughty kids at Chequers last Friday. Now there is chaos. But the EU must take the right message from it. ... Demand more concessions and no-deal becomes far more certain. Brussels must not mistakenly conclude, as EU Council chief Donald Tusk hinted, that one more push will destroy Brexit. Brexit must and will happen. The consequences for our democracy, national stability and friendly relations with Europe are unthinkable if it doesn't.” (UA) /

Soft Brexit will prevent disaster

The resignation of the Brexit ideologists will prevent an even worse crisis, journalist Vitali Portnikov writes in LB:

“The resignations of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Brexit minister David Davis are further proof that you can present all manner of populist solutions, but you can't always put them into practice. The politicians who were the ideologists behind Britain's exit from the EU are being forced to leave their posts to avoid being held accountable for the so-called 'soft Brexit' - in other words Britain de facto remaining in the European area while formally leaving it. For them, this would be the worst scenario. ... But this is the only way for Britain to leave the EU without triggering a massive political crisis.”

Pravda (SK) /

Johnson gambling with his country's future

Davis and Johnson's resignations mark the start of major political chaos, Pravda believes:

“In the coming week we will no doubt witness a fratricide among the Conservatives. Boris Johnson, who had always had his eye on the post of prime minister, wants to see blood. Before the referendum he didn't balk at supporting the Brexit, and in so doing he gambled with his country's fate. And there is no sign that he will have any qualms about bringing his mission to a conclusion. To that end he can rely on the support of the hard-Brexiteers. Although they make up no more than a fraction of the Tory family, they're louder and more aggressive, meaning victory could be theirs. Britain would then leave the EU without a treaty - and real anarchy would prevail.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Trailer for the Brexit horror film

Writing in La Stampa Francesco Guerrera, head of the Dow Jones Media Group in Europe, says May could face a vote of no confidence triggered by her own party:

“Margaret Thatcher faced this in 1990, and like her famous predecessor, May could win the vote but be forced to resign if the majority isn't considered great enough. The prime minister's fall would almost certainly lead to elections in which Jeremy Corbyn's Labour populists would do very well. Early elections would make it impossible to reach an agreement with the EU about the Brexit before the deadline in April 2019, leading to enormous economic and financial chaos. The plunge of the pound yesterday is just the trailer for the horror film of a Brexit without a deal.”

Financial Times (GB) /

A majority of Brits oppose hard Brexit

The Financial Times warns the EU opponents in the Tory Party against risking a coup against Theresa May:

“Some MPs may take fright at these resignations and seek to install a more hardline leader to see through their own vision of Brexit. This would be a colossal indulgence, wasting precious negotiating time to little purpose. The Brexiters contemplating such a course should consider some basic facts: there is no majority in the country, or in parliament, for a hard Brexit. Moreover, they have failed to put forward a coherent alternative that could deliver an orderly departure without risking the worst option: a no-deal Brexit. That would risk an economic shock and administrative chaos.”

Delo (SI) /

Uncompromising EU also to blame

The EU also bears responsibility for the two ministers' departure, in Delo's view:

“The situation is unpleasant not just because the EU has lost one of its key dialogue partners in the negotiations, but also because with its uncompromising stance it has sparked this latest political crisis in Britain which could even end with the government's collapse. That should be the last thing the EU wants now. ... No doubt Davis and Johnson's resignations will facilitate the negotiations, since the government's biggest Eurosceptics are now gone. But things are likely to get even more complicated. ... The EU should be aware of this, before it starts demanding new, politically unsustainable compromises.”

Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

Ask the people what they want again

The UK must go to the polls again, the Wiener Zeitung admonishes:

“A one-off, extremely close vote [the Brexit referendum] was enough to deactivate all the security systems: neither the government nor the opposition, neither civil society nor the academics, neither the independent media nor the organised societal associations of employment and capital have managed to prevent this monstrosity of a vote from developing such a devastating impact. In Britain it's high time to do what must be done when the political leadership has hopelessly lost its way: ask the people which way their society should go. It's time for fresh elections.”