Friday, 21 September, 2018

UK's top Brexit minister quits govt, cites policy differences with PM May

Cabinet including Davis at Chequers UK's top Brexit minister quits govt, cites policy differences with PM May
Nellie Chapman | 09 July, 2018, 17:56

The loss of her chief negotiator is a blow to the prime minister and comes as she prepares to face the House of Commons and then Tory MPs and peers on Monday to discuss her Brexit plans.

- Davis, 69, was a surprise appointment to May's cabinet when she took power in 2016, shortly after Britons had voted in favour of leaving the European Union.

In this Thursday, May 17, 2018 file photo, British Prime Minister Theresa May looks on during a news conference with her Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev, not pictured, following their meeting at the government building in Skopje, Macedonia.

David Davis resigns as Brexit Secretary, throwing Theresa May's government into crisis.

The prime minister hammered out a compromise with her deeply divided cabinet in an all-day meeting at Chequers on Friday, but after consulting friends and allies since, Johnson decided he could not promote the deal.

In her reply, Mrs May said: "I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday".

The junior Brexit minister, Steve Baker, also resigned, Downing Street confirmed Monday.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a key figure in the Conservative Party's "hard Brexit" faction, which supports relinquishing access to the EU's single market in exchange for full border control, said the deal would be "worse" than a United Kingdom exit from the European Union with no deal at all.

Davis said he had left because he feared the European Union would "take what we have offered already and then demand some more. It has been worrying the prime minister's advisers from the start".

The resignation comes just hours before May was due in parliament to explain her plan for Britain to adopt European Union rules on goods after Brexit, amid anger from MPs in her own party who want a cleaner break.

It won the backing of one other prominent Brexit campaigner.

She said the government's Brexit plan was "far from perfect" but marked "grown-up steps". Environment Secretary Michael Gove said Sunday that it did not contain everything he wanted but "I'm a realist".

Davis opposed the PM's plan approved at her country residence, Chequers, on Friday.

That agreement of her fractious Cabinet, at a lock-in at May's countryside retreat, came after companies stepped up their lobbying efforts with warnings that severing ties to Britain's biggest trading partner - as the Brexit backers want - would be devastating for jobs and investment. The government is trying to convince lawmakers to back the agreed stance, inviting them, including those from the opposition Labour Party, for briefings on the plan.

However, even in that event it seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.