No 'reluctant conscript', Brexit minister quits in blow to May

No 'reluctant conscript', Brexit minister quits in blow to May

No 'reluctant conscript', Brexit minister quits in blow to May

Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned in a crippling blow to Theresa May's government.

His resignation seemed to spur others to follow suit, with a source saying that a junior minister in the same department had also quit, just two days after May had held a crisis meeting with ministers to overcome the deep divisions over Brexit.

Davis is the sixth Cabinet minister to resign from May's government in eight months, following former global development secretary Priti Patel, defence secretary Michael Fallon, her deputy Damian Green, education secretary Justine Greening, and home secretary Amber Rudd.

Mr Davis' decision could now act as a spur to other Brexiteers to take action against Mrs May.

Mr Davis, who was appointed Brexit Secretary in 2016, said: "The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one".

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his departure showed May had not authority left and was "incapable of delivering Brexit".

Davis's late-night resignation undermined May's already fragile government.

In an ominous warning to the Prime Minister, about 60 per cent of those surveyed by the ConservativeHome website said the deal as outlined so far would be bad for Britain if implemented, and the same proportion said they would not support it.

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis leaves 10 Downing Street, London, January 29, 2018.


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

At a summit at Chequers in the English countryside, all cabinet members agreed to a plan that would allow "frictionless" trade and prevent a hard Irish border.

The government still has to negotiate a deal with Brussels, where sources warned the customs compromise looked very similar to the so-called new customs partnership the European Union rejected as "magical thinking" 11 months ago.

- To trigger a formal leadership challenge, 48 Conservative lawmakers need to write to the chairman of a committee which represents the interests of Conservative members of parliament who are not part of the government.

Allies made it clear that the foreign secretary has not chosen to publicly support the Chequers deal yet - unlike Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, and Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

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.

May won the backing of her Cabinet on Friday for a plan that would create a "U.K. -EU free trade area".

The ultra-soft Brexit plan imposed by the Prime Minsiter at Chequers appears to have been the last straw, with Davis outlining his belief that it "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".

An analysis of the Chequers deal circulating within the pro-Brexit European Research Group of MPs was damning about the plan, saying it would lead to "a worst-of-all-worlds "black hole" Brexit where the United Kingdom is stuck permanently as a vassal state in the EU's legal and regulatory tar pit".

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