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  1. ITV Report

Theresa May says Cabinet - including Boris Johnson - is 'absolutely united' on Brexit

The Prime Minister has insisted that the Government is "absolutely" united on Brexit despite Boris Johnson's recent intervention which sparked speculation that he may resign.

Speaking from the United Nations Geneva Assembly in New York, Theresa May told ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston that the Cabinet is "all focusing on exactly the same thing".

"We are all absolutely united on making sure that what we get out of the negotiations with the European Union is a good deal on trade for the UK, a good deal in relation to our future cooperation on security matters, on justice and home affairs matters, a deep and special partnership as I have said before with the EU for the future," said Mrs May.

"But that we're also able to do trade deals around the rest of the world and also of course leaving the EU means we take control of our money, of our borders and of our laws," she added.

Mr Johnson is also at the United Nations General Assembly but Mrs May's spokesman said they had not met since the Foreign Secretary's intervention.

Earlier on Tuesday Boris Johnson had told ITV News that he would not be resigning as Foreign Secretary despite the rumours that have been growing since he published a 4,000-word article about his ambitions for a "hard" Brexit on Friday.

Boris Johnson denied rumours that he would resign as Foreign Secretary.

Mr Johnson also denied there were divisions in the Cabinet on Europe saying: "No, we are a Government working together. We are a nest of singing birds."

When Robert Peston asked the Prime Minister if Boris Johnson should resign Mrs May did not directly answer the question instead she reiterated her point that the Government is "absolutely united on making sure that what we get out of the negotiations with the European Union is a good deal".

When asked if Mrs May thought Mr Johnson would remain in the Cabinet beyond the weekend, the PM's spokesman told reporters in New York: "Yes. Boris Johnson is the Foreign Secretary and, as the Prime Minister has said, he is doing a good job."

The Prime Minister with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York.

Mrs May has called a special meeting of Cabinet at Number 10 on Thursday to discuss her crunch Brexit speech in Italy the following day, which a Downing Street source said would be "a significant moment" in the process of Britain's withdrawal from the EU.

Billed as the PM's most important update to the Government's position since her Lancaster House address in January, the Florence speech is thought likely to include an attempt to break the deadlock over the UK's financial settlement.

Speculation has been mounting as to whether she will offer to pay tens of billions of pounds to the EU during a two to three-year transition deal after the UK's formal exit in 2019.

The Foreign Secretary is understood to accept the idea of the UK paying its dues to Brussels during a transition period - but not for continued payments for access to the European single market on a permanent basis.

Veteran Tory Ken Clarke said Mr Johnson should have faced the sack for his Brexit intervention, while Lord Hague issued a call for Cabinet unity.

Former chancellor Mr Clarke said: "Sounding off personally in this way is totally unhelpful and he shouldn't exploit the fact she hasn't got a majority in Parliament, and he knows perfectly well that normally the Foreign Secretary would be sacked for doing that - and she, unfortunately, after the general election, is not in the position easily to sack him - which he should stop exploiting."