Boris Johnson's resignation letter and Theresa May's response - in full

The Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned.   Getty

In a letter on Monday, Mr Johnson said the prime minister was leading the United Kingdom into a "semi-Brexit" with the "status of a colony".

He is replaced at Health and Social Care by Culture Secretary Matt Hancock, who will in turn be succeeded by Attorney General Jeremy Wright.

What do the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis mean for Theresa May?

"Brexit should be about opportunity and hope", Johnson said in a scathing resignation letter that was echoed in headlines in a number of national newspapers.

Johnson, who favours a stronger break with the European Union, said in his resignation letter that Britain is "truly headed for the status of [EU] colony".

"When he says the Brexit dream is dying, he's really talking about the perspective he had on Brexit, but in my view that was never a live possibility in any instance".

The politician had not learned his lesson, having previously tripped a schoolboy during a kickabout in London while mayor and having performed some sort of rugby tackle aimed at an opponent's crotch during a charity football match in 2006. He built a public profile on Latin quips and rumpled eccentricity, while nurturing a poorly concealed ambition to lead his country.

He added that he'd consider returning to Ukip to fight the Prime Minister's plans.

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May defended her Brexit plan to lawmakers in the House of Commons on Monday, with Johnson absent from his usual place on the Conservative front bench.

With less than nine months until Britain is due to leave the bloc, May is sticking to her plan for a "business friendly" Brexit.

David Cameron promised to hold a referendum on the U.K.'s future membership of the European Union should he be re-elected in 2015.

Brexit secretary David Davis quit on Sunday following crunch talks at Chequers, saying the agreed trade position for the white paper meant "we are giving too much away too easily and that's a unsafe strategy at this time".

Government unity began to fray within hours.

Brexit-supporting lawmakers were angered by the proposals, saying they would keep Britain tethered to the bloc and unable to change its rules to strike new trade deals around the world. He said Britain was heading for a "semi-Brexit".

Davis also said that May's plan "would be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome".

"The October deadline for agreeing a withdrawal agreement is fast approaching and the issue of the border remains unresolved". The timetable looks increasingly optimistic.

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Europe's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday talks will resume next Monday as scheduled with the new Brexit minister, while refusing to comment on the political infighting consuming London.

Tusk said it was unfortunate that the whole "idea of Brexit has not left together with David Davis".

The latest chaos for May unfolded within 48 hours of what was supposed to be a breakthrough in uniting a fractious government behind her road map for Brexit.

Other pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers said they supported May and would not resign.

Now, Downing Street believes that the hot water the prime minister is in today will shock European Union leaders into realising they need to start compromising themselves - not just perpetually demanding capitulations on the UK's red lines.

"I'd have to deliver this".

"I don't see them pulling the plug on her", Polly Mackenzie, director of cross-party think-tank Demos, told AFP. "Others don't have that same responsibility". But, after much speculation, Mr Johnson announced he would not enter the Conservative leadership race when his ally Michael Gove announced he was running. In order to oust the Prime Minister as Tory leader, some 48 Conservative MPs would have to send letters demanding a vote of no confidence.

"Hopefully we will resist very strongly any attempt to get any further concessions from us on this, because I think this goes further than we should have gone already". He urged May to abandon her plans and take a tougher line with Brussels.

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