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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019

Gone: UK's Europe minister resigns ahead of Boris Johnson's expected election as PM

It’s expected several more high profile resignations will take place in the coming 48 hours.

Julian Assange extradition Source: Yui Mok

THE UK’S MINISTER of State for Europe, Alan Duncan, has resigned his position ahead of the announcement of the official result of the Conservative leadership battle tomorrow. 

Boris Johnson is expected to be named as the new party leader tomorrow, and is then set to take over as prime minister on Wednesday. 

It’s expected several more high profile resignations will take place in the coming 48 hours. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond confirmed on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday that he intends to resign from the cabinet if Johnson takes over due to differences on Brexit policy. 

Johnson, who is widely expected to defeat Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the Tory leadership two-way run-off, has said the UK must leave the EU by this year’s Halloween deadline “do or die”. 

Hammond said it was important the new prime minister and his chancellor were “closely aligned” on Brexit and that, if Johnson was named as new PM, he intended to quit on Wednesday before Theresa May tendered her own resignation. 

Earlier yesterday Justice Secretary David Gauke told The Sunday Times he intended to resign from government if the new prime minister pursued a no-deal Brexit. 

He said: “If the test of loyalty to stay in the cabinet is a commitment to support no-deal on October 31 – which, to be fair to him, Boris has consistently said – then that’s not something I’m prepared to sign up to.”

Duncan, a Tory MP since 1992, has served as a Foreign Office minister since Theresa May’s election as prime minister in July 2016. 

He has been a fierce critic of Johnson in the past, last month describing him as a “circus act” in a radio interview. 

Last year, Duncan tweeted that Johnson’s comparison of May’s Brexit strategy to a suicide vest was “one of the most disgusting moments in British politics”. 

He said in his resignation letter to May that he was sorry her time as prime minister had been “brought to an end”. 

He added: “You deserved better, but please take lasting comfort from the knowledge that your self-esteem can, and will forever, far exceed that of your critics.”

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