Wednesday, 24 July, 2019

Brexit minister Davis steps down in big blow to May

Tory MPs prepare to mount May leadership push ReutersTheresa May set for leadership challenge over Brexit stance
Deanna Wagner | 09 July, 2018, 16:11

Davis did not urge other ministers to resign, saying he was in a unique position because the Brexit secretary's job is to sell the government's policy.

David Davis's resignation has triggered the "flight of the Brexiteers", in the British government, European Union diplomats in Brussels declared this morning before likening the Brexit Secretary and his political allies to "rats fleeing a sinking ship".

"Investors believe she will keep hold of the reins", London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler said.

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

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.

Others were understood to have already handed in their letter to 1922 Committee chair Sir Graham Brady due to concerns the Government had "capitulated" when it came to her own Brexit red lines.

"As the prime minister said. we have set out our position and it is now the EU's turn to move and that she wants the European Union to get serious in these negotiations".

Conservative MP Marcus Fysh on Monday also refused to give his support to the prime minister, describing the government's policy as a "stinker" and warning: "If Theresa May wants to break her manifesto pledges that is up to her [but] these things have consequences".

As the minister responsible for the Brexit negotiations, Davis is a major voice in the debate in the UK.

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But by appointing Brexit campaigner Dominic Raab as Davis's replacement, May might hope to quell some of that anger.

Davis was the front-runner in the 2005 Conservative Party leadership contest, but lost out to David Cameron, shedding momentum after a party conference speech fell flat. It vows to press for a free trade area for goods with the European Union and maintain close links.

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.

"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".

"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'.

He won the seat back but the move cost him his place in Cameron's top team. They say May's Brexit plan would put the Conservatives on course for an election defeat and could split the party.

She will face them at a meeting of the party later on Monday.

Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be "very difficult" for Mrs May's plans to win the backing of MPs without Mr Davis. "If the Brexit Secretary can not support them they can not be very good proposals".