UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her government are in charge of leading their country through “Brexit” – the UK leaving the European Union (EU). But many people in Ms. May’s government have quit their jobs in the last week. They did this to show that they are not happy with Ms. May’s Brexit plan.
In June, 2016, a little over half of the people in the UK voted to leave the EU. Some people were worried about people from other countries coming to live in the UK. Some people thought Brexit would be good for UK businesses. Many people disagreed with this idea. About half the people in the UK didn’t want to leave the EU at all.
When Theresa May became prime minister, one of the biggest jobs facing her was to make Brexit happen. This is not an easy job. There are many, many agreements to work out.
Being a part of the EU has been good for the UK in many ways. The tricky job for Ms. May is to keep as many of the good parts of the way the UK works with the EU, but make it so that the UK does not have to follow EU rules.
This job is even harder because governments in the EU don’t want to give the UK special deals if the UK doesn’t want to be part of the EU.
This last week has been hard for Ms. May. She made a plan for Brexit that she thought most people in her government supported. But even though the people in her cabinet said they agreed, many did not. Soon they began to quit their jobs in order to protest Ms. May’s plan.
The first person to leave was David Davis. His job in the government was to lead the talks about Brexit. Mr. Davis quitting made Ms. May’s government look bad. Next, the UK’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, left. His job was to deal with foreign countries.
Both Mr. Davis and Mr. Johnson want the UK to break completely with the EU. They do not want the UK to have to follow any EU rules. They think that Ms. May’s plan is not strong enough.
Soon after they quit, other people in Ms. May’s government left their jobs. It almost looked like people were quitting as part of a plan to embarrass Ms. May.
Ms. May has replaced the people who have quit and is carrying on with her plan.
For now, it looks like the people who are quitting just want to put pressure on Ms. May to change her Brexit plan. But it is possible that they could try and force her out of her job.
If enough people in Ms. May’s government disagree with her, they could hold a vote of “no confidence”. If they won that vote, Ms. May would lose her job as prime minister and someone else would take over.
But it is not clear if anyone else has enough support to be able to take over. Even if they do, it will not be an easy job.
Time is running out for the UK to agree on a plan. All the agreements are supposed to be completed by October, 2018.
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