Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

David Davis quits as Brexit Secretary leaving Theresa May facing a crisis

UK Prime Minister Theresa May UK Prime Minister Theresa May
Melinda Barton | 09 July, 2018, 12:59

When Cameron resigned after defeat in the Brexit referendum, Davis was appointed back in government by May, Cameron's replacement.

Mrs May had hoped that the Cabinet agreement secured on Friday at Chequers would help her deliver the "right Brexit" for the UK, with an offer to Brussels to share a "common rulebook" on goods and form a new UK-EU free trade area.

He has threatened resignation on numerous occasions, but when David Davis did leave his post late last night it was shocking and unexpected.

"Yet his resignation does potentially make it easier to implement said 'soft" Brexit, dependent on how the next couple of hours and days pan out for PM May'.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of a group of Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party, said Davis' resignation proved that their concerns were well-founded.

Mr Davis was appointed Brexit secretary in 2016 and was responsible for negotiating the United Kingdom withdrawal from the EU.

Mr Gove would likely be a contender in any future leadership contest, which could influence his decision on whether to spearhead Mrs May's plans for Brexit.

His comments came after Andrea Jenkyns, who recently quit a Government role to campaign for Brexit, said she would vote against any such deal, adding "if the detail is as bad as were hearing, then I'm also prepared to put a letter into the [1922 Committee]".

A long-time eurosceptic, Davis was appointed two years ago to head up the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union after Britain voted to leave the European Union in a historic referendum.

"As you know there have been a significant number of occasions in the past year or so on which I have disagreed with the Number 10 policy line, ranging from accepting the Commission's sequencing of negotiations through to the language on Northern Ireland in the December Joint Report".

"One of the things we agreed at Chequers is that we would step up the preparations for precisely that outcome".

She will say: "Over that time, I have listened to every possible idea and every possible version of Brexit".

There is now growing speculation that the Prime Minister's plans could spark a leadership by pro-Brexit Conservative MPs.

May's plan would create a free trade area with the European Union for goods, to protect supply chains in areas such as manufacturing, while maintaining flexibility for Britain's dominant service sector.

Davis, a sharp operator and a gut-instinct politician, was a "Leave" campaigner in the referendum on Britain's European Union membership.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson backed the proposals at Chequers, despite claiming that defending the plans was like "polishing a turd" during the meeting. Michael Gove, May's environment minister, said on Sunday that while the agreed negotiating stance was not ideal, he believed it delivered on handing back control to Britain.

What appears to have kickstarted the resignations, however, is May's reintroduction of "collective responsibility", a British convention which means ministers are formally banned from disagreeing with government policy, including the Brexit plan.

Another minister may be leaving soon as well, the BBC reported.