British Prime Minister Hangs By A Thread As Top Leaders Quit Over Brexit Deal

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The British prime minister was clinging to power by the thinnest of threads on Thursday after a wave of resignations from her Cabinet and the beginnings of a political coup to oust her as leader.

Theresa May presented her draft deal for the U.K.’s exit from the European Union on Wednesday evening in a mammoth five-hour meeting with her top ministers. In a speech after the meeting, May gave a warning to those who might oppose her, hinting that scrapping Brexit entirely was still an option.

“The choice before us is clear: this deal which delivers on the vote of the referendum ... or leave with no deal or no Brexit at all,” she said.

But by Thursday morning, just over 12 hours later, her Brexit minister, Dominic Raab, and her work and pensions minister, Esther McVey, both quit, saying they could not support May’s deal because it still requires the U.K. to follow some European Union rules.

Politicians pushing for a so-called “hard Brexit,” who are known as Brexiteers, don’t want any deal to tie the U.K. too closely to Brussels, arguing the U.K. should not be following any rules it no longer has a role in shaping.

An anti-Brexit demonstrator holds a European Union flag and a British Union flag, also known as a Union Jack, in London Thursday.

May’s divided party exposes serious cracks in her leadership, as she attempts to steer the U.K. through its biggest shift in policy in more than 40 years. She now faces a serious threat by eurosceptic politicians, who are threatening to attempt to remove her as head of the Conservative Party by sending 48 letters of “no confidence” to the chair of the party’s organizing committee, which would trigger a leadership contest.

One of the key voices against the prime minister and one of the most ardent supporters of Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg, offered a stinging attack on May Thursday in the House of...

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