U.K.'s senior official in charge of Brexit resigns

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2018

He described the fact that he was not willing to be a "reluctant conscript" to Theresa May's plan on Brexit.

"In my view the inevitable effect of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real", he writes.

Mr Davis had disagreed with the PM's plans for keeping European Union rules for goods and adopting a close customs partnership with the other 27 member countries.

Speaking on the Today programme he accused May of putting Britain's future in danger.

The British political press said more resignations might follow.

British media reported that junior Brexit ministers Steve Baker and Suella Braverman had also resigned.

Former MP for Peterborough Stewart Jackson has left his role as a special adviser in the Government following the surprise resignation of the Brexit Secretary.

Although repeatedly threatened, Davis held back from resigning under the understanding that May would not water down her "red lines" of leaving the EU customs union and single market.

Tory Brexiteers have voiced concern about the agreement, with the chairman of the campaign group "Leave Means Leave" accusing May of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners.

Whether it is the progressive dilution of what I thought was a firm Chequers agreement in February on right to diverge, or the unnecessary delays of the start of the White Paper, or the presentation of a backstop proposal that omitted the strict conditions that I requested and believed that we had agreed, the general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.

"I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions", he added.

David Davis' resignation comes days after Theresa May secured the cabinet's backing for her Brexit plan despite claims from Brexit supporters, known as Breexiters, that it was too "soft", BBC News reports.

Davis' departure also poses the question of who she can appoint to take his place that is both versed in the detail of the negotiations and acceptable to her warring cabinet.

Will there now be a leadership challenge against May?

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May was scheduled to address all Tory parliamentarians at a meeting on Monday night.

The Prime Minister is expected to appoint a replacement for Mr Davis on Monday.

Tonight's meeting could be very different.

For the first time that now looks like a very real possibility. Beforehand, she faces what will likely be a challenging meeting with her own MPs.

"If she sticks with this deal I would have no confidence in it, and if the Prime Minister sticks with this deal I would have no confidence in her", he told the BBC.

More importantly for May's most anti-EU critics in the party, getting rid of May now would not fundamentally change the parliamentary arithmetic, which is now firmly in favour of a softer Brexit.

Boris Johnson, Britain's foreign minister, gave silent assent to May's European Union blueprint, but he was also quoted by the BBC as having called her plan "a big turd" in private remarks.

- His departure leaves May with a hard task to find a replacement who can win the confidence of the pro-Brexit faction in May's Conservative Party whilst delivering on a Brexit plan that outraged many of them.

"There's going to be a challenge nearly certainly in the next hours or days", Brooks said.

This would be the worst of all worlds for May's party and most sensible Conservative MPs will do everything they can to avoid it.

Conservative MPs have repeatedly told Business Insider that there is likely to be a challenge against her once Brexit negotiations conclude and Britain has left the European Union next March.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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