Brexit minister Davis steps down in big blow to May

09 July, 2018, 17:26 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • The prime minister won cabinet agreement for her Brexit plan on Friday

In his resignation letter, Mr Davis criticised the PM's Brexit plan - agreed by the cabinet on Friday - saying it would leave Parliament with "at best a weak negotiating position".

She is set to tell MPs there have been "robust views" on Brexit among cabinet members and is also expected to announce a replacement for Davis.

The immediate danger for May appeared to recede as pro-Brexit lawmakers held back from calling for her to go, emphasizing instead the need for a new policy.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned from the United Kingdom government in protest at Theresa May's plans for future ties with the EU.

The Liberal Democrats called on people to sign a petition for a vote on the proposed deal, adding: "The resignation of David Davis is yet more evidence of the chaos of this Tory Brexit".

British media reported that junior Brexit minister Steve Baker had also stepped down.

"I would be front and centre in delivering this policy, explaining it to the House, persuading the House it is right, and then going out and delivering it with the European Union", he told the BBC's Today program on Monday morning.

Some Brexit-supporting lawmakers are angry at the proposals, saying they will keep Britain tethered to the bloc and unable to change its rules to strike new trade deals around the world.

Davis was particularly critical of the proposal for a "common rulebook" to allow free trade in goods, saying this "hands control of large swathes of our economy to the European Union and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense".

He said he was anxious the government's negotiating approach would "lead to further demands for concessions" from Brussels.


"I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions", he said, concluding that his post required "an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript".

During a 12-hour meeting on Friday, May's fractious cabinet - including Davis - finally agreed on a plan for future trade ties with the EU.

"The PM said in her letter to the secretary of state that she didn't agree with his characterization of the position".

"May's Brexit means BRINO - "Brexit In Name Only" - a fake Brexit", said John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave.

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.

Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leader of the party's "hard Brexit" faction, compared May's plan to an egg so softly boiled that it "isn't boiled at all".

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

She stamped her authority on her government and told ministers to back the plan for close ties to the bloc or leave.

- 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. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said Sunday that it did not contain everything he wanted but "I'm a realist".

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