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British PM May says FM Johnson ‘Doing Good Work’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London, Britain, July 19, 2016. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

British Prime Minister Theresa May backed her foreign minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday after reports he could quit over her Brexit strategy, Sky News reported.

May declined to rule out firing outspoken Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as she said her Cabinet is “absolutely clear” in backing her strategy for Brexit.

When asked directly by Sky News whether Johnson should be ousted over his Brexit strategy, May dodged the question by saying that he is “doing good work” as the UK’s top diplomat.

Sky news reporter Beth Rigby said on Twitter that, when asked whether Johnson should be sacked, May said: “Boris is doing good work as Foreign Secretary.”

May also said she was confident of getting her whole senior team of ministers to back her Brexit strategy, which she is due to lay out at a specially convened cabinet meeting on Thursday before making a speech in Florence on Friday.

“Boris and others” are “all very clear about the destination we have as a country and that is getting that deep and special relationship with the EU when we leave,” May said in New York, where she and Johnson are attending meetings of the United Nations.

As the prime minister prepares to deliver her own vision for the divorce on Friday, the Daily Telegraph reported that Johnson, the figurehead of last year’s Leave campaign, may resign before the end of the week if he doesn’t like the contents of her speech. The pound strengthened on the report.

The Telegraph reported that he was ready to walk out if May embraces a “Swiss model” for Brexit in which the UK pays for trade. She is due to flesh out her thinking on Friday in Florence, Italy.

“The Cabinet is absolutely clear about the destination we are aiming for in relation to our European negotiations,” May said. “We want to make sure we get the best possible deal for the United Kingdom as we leave the European Union.”