Most senior Brexit official quits United Kingdom government

Lester Mason
July 9, 2018

Mr Davis's departure just 48 hours after being part of the Cabinet that agreed to Mrs May's plans also triggered the resignation of departmental ally Steve Baker, while fellow Brexit minister Suella Braverman is also reported to have stepped down.

"The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position and possible an inescapable one", he wrote, adding: "The inevitable outcome of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real".

Brexiteer Cabinet minister Michael Gove admitted the plan was not everything he had hoped for, but he was a "realist" and the Prime Minister's lack of a Commons majority meant the "parliamentary arithmetic" was a factor in deciding what could be adopted.

He criticized May's decision to maintain a "common rule book" with the European Union, mirroring the bloc's rules and regulations, saying it would hand "control of large swathes of our economy to the European Union and is certainly not returning control of our laws".

He said that delivering on the Conservative election commitment of leaving the customs union and single market was looking "less and less likely", that there had been a "progressive dilution" of a previous cabinet agreement that the United Kingdom could diverge from the EU, and that his advice on strict conditions being attached to the recent Northern Ireland backstop proposal was snubbed.

The Prime Minister replied in her letter: "I am sorry that the Government will not have the benefit of your continued expertise and counsel as we secure this deal and complete the process of leaving the EU".

"I would like to thank you warmly for everything you have done over the past two years as Secretary of State to shape our departure from the European Union", she said. His role as Brexit Secretary was crucial to ensuring Britain leaves the European Union next year with what Mrs May described as the "best possible deal".

His exit comes at a critical and highly sensitive time for Mrs May's strategy.

Brexit secretary David Davis has resigned.

Now some Conservatives who are pushing for a hard Brexit threaten that the prime minister could soon face a no-confidence vote.

Other Brexit-supporting Conservative lawmakers have criticized the Chequers "peace deal", saying that May's plans offered a Brexit in name only, a betrayal of what they saw as her promise for a clean break with the EU.

Interestingly, Mr Davis' resignation letter makes no mention of a pledge of loyalty or commitment to the Prime Minister.


Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic MP allied to Mr Davis, told the BBC that he didn't see how the prime minister could get her Brexit plans through Parliament, and also that he couldn't see how she continue in her position if she didn't give into anger from the Conservative backbenches. It raises the most serious questions about the PM's ideas.

Ian Lavery, chairman of the main opposition Labour Party, said: "This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left".

There has been substantial disquiet among Brexiteers about the Chequers agreement proposals - shown to Germany's Angela Merkel before her own Cabinet, according to some reports - which would leave Britain effectively still inside the EU's Single Market for goods and agricultural products but outside the Single Market for services - such as it is - and subject to a "common rulebook" dictated by the European Union court, as well as bound to European Union standards on state aid, employment, and other regulations and forced to collect customs duties on the bloc's behalf, among other onerous obligations.

It is unclear whether Brussels will accept this, after repeatedly warning Britain it can not "cherry-pick" bits of its single market.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit supporter, was widely reported to have described the plan as a "turd" before agreeing to support it.

Davis, a sharp operator and a gut-instinct politician, was a Leave campaigner in the referendum.

He had restrained from acting on his instinct to resign before, calculating his ministerial team would go and precipitate the possible fall of the May government.

Born to a single mother and brought up on a public housing estate in London, Davis pursued a career at sugar giant Tate & Lyle.

David Davis had already expressed unease over the compromise plan.

Britain's Secretary of State for Departing the EU David Davis arrives in Downing Street in London, June 26, 2018.

Theresa May must appoint a successor, while also handling a potential challenge to her future as prime minister and publishing the Brexit white paper setting out the plan agreed at the Chequers summit.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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