UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned

Marco Green
July 9, 2018

Davis, who campaigned for Brexit in Britain's 2016 referendum, said he had resigned because the cabinet deal had given "too much away, too easily" to European Union negotiators, who, he feared, would simply ask for more.

Britain's Secretary of State for Departing the EU David Davis arrives in Downing Street in London, June 26, 2018.

The pound strengthened as May's spokesman told reporters she would press ahead with the plan agreed with her Cabinet on Friday to maintain tight links to the bloc in order to protect vital business interests.

Davis's resignation may also further disrupt Brexit talks, with less than nine months before Britain leaves and just over three before the European Union says it wants a deal that will mark Britain's biggest foreign and trade policy shift in decades.

Davis' resignation was also accompanied by the resignation of his deputy, Brexit minister Steve Baker, according to the Telegraph.

In her reply, Mrs May said: "I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday".

Conservative MP William Wragg, who campaigned for Brexit, said the resignation was "the right thing to do" while Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, who quit a junior government role earlier this year to "fight for Brexit", said it was "fantastic news", adding: "Well done David Davis for having the principle and guts to resign".

That agreement of her fractious Cabinet, at a lock-in at May's countryside retreat, came after companies stepped up their lobbying efforts with warnings that severing ties to Britain's biggest trading partner - as the Brexit backers want - would be devastating for jobs and investment.

The former Brexit Secretary added that the "current trend of policy and tactics" was making it look "less and less likely" that Brexit would deliver on the referendum result and the Tory commitments to leave the European Union customs and single markets.

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

Davis said Monday that he believed Britain was "giving too much away, too easily" in the exit talks, saying May's plan "would be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome".

Denying that he wanted to unseat the prime minister, he said he would now "argue for being as firm as possible".

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understands Mr Davis was "furious" after a meeting at No 10 earlier on Sunday and "concluded he could not stay in post".

Davis was the front-runner in the 2005 Conservative Party leadership contest, but lost to David Cameron.

He won the seat back but the move cost him his place in Cameron's top team.

Other Brexit-supporting Conservative MPs have criticized the Chequers deal, saying May's plans offered Brexit in name only.

Their complaints raise a question mark over whether May can win backing in parliament for her plans if any deal with the European Union is agreed later this year, and some suggest several of them could try to trigger a leadership contest against her.

Her proposal sparked the fury of hardline Brexiteers in the Conservative Party but Mr Davis signalled Brussels itself could still reject it.

He told Reuters. "If the Brexit Secretary could not support them (the Chequers conclusions) they cannot genuinely be delivering Brexit".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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