Most senior Brexit official quits United Kingdom government

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2018

The resignation is a blow to Mrs May as she seeks to win over Eurosceptic MPs to her proposed Brexit vision.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 after a referendum was held in 2016, but the two sides have yet to agree how trade will work between the UK and the EU afterwards.

"They wanted us to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the United Kingdom - that will end".

Conservative Brexiteers have rounded on the compromise deal struck by the Prime Minister with her Cabinet ahead of a crucial meeting on Monday, with several MPs openly raising the prospect of a vote of no confidence in Theresa May.

He said he was "unpersuaded" that the government's negotiating approach "will not just lead to further demands for concessions" from Brussels.

"A very soft Brexit means that we haven't left, we are simply a rule-taker", he said.

Mr Gove said the Prime Minister "allowed us, during the course of a day [at Chequers], to share views, to share analyses and to look at this proposal in detail but at the end of it collective responsibility reigns". He was promoted to the Department for Exiting the European Union as a parliamentary under-secretary in June a year ago.

Mr Davis announced he was quitting late on Sunday, saying it looked "less and less likely" the party would deliver on the Brexit result and the Tory commitment to leave the customs union and single market.

Asked if Mrs May's compromise was everything he hoped for as a former co-chairman of the Vote Leave campaign, Mr Gove told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "No, but then I'm a realist and one of the things about politics is you mustn't, you shouldn't make the ideal the enemy of the good. Well done David Davis for having the principle and guts to resign".

"Obviously if the Government and the Prime Minister continue to support that very poor offer then I won't have any confidence in the Government or the Prime Minister", Mr Bridgen said.

Boris Johnson is reported to have attacked the plan as a "turd" during Friday's 12-hour marathon cabinet meeting at Chequers, but all of Mrs May's senior ministers backed it and have been warned that collective responsibility will be enforced from now on.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, chair of the European Research Group of Tory Europsceptic MPs was being urged to run for leader, with one even naming him as "our Churchill".

UK PM May to face further opposition as pro-Brexit Tories edge towards making an outright leadership challenge.

Britain's Environment Secretary Michael Gove speaks on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain July 8, 2018.

Conservative MP and Remainer Anna Soubry did not refer directly to Mr Davis's resignation, but tweeted it was "not the time for egos, grandstanding and blind ideology". The Sunday Times said seven of the 27 ministers present spoke out against the plan.

The director-general of the CBI, Carolyn Fairbairn, said the resignation was "a blow", adding that business had welcomed the agreement of ministers on Friday.

"Somebody who clearly believes in Brexit and is really prepared to deliver what the people voted for. Now the Brexiteers holding Mrs May hostage are falling out, there isn't a majority for any withdrawal treaty in Parliament".

A Downing Street source said MPs will continue to be briefed on the plans, and officials will explain how it does not "breach our manifesto pledges, or our Brexit red lines". "You deserve the final say".

Ms Jenkyns commented on his resignation, stating: "Another courageous and principled MP, Steve Baker, steps down too, awesome news".

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford called on Mrs May to "see sense and bring forward a plan that heeds the mounting evidence against a hard Brexit".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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