UK's top Brexit minister quits govt, cites policy differences with PM May

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2018

Davis's late-night resignation undermined May's fragile government. May's office confirmed that Davis had resigned but had no comment yet on the reasons. Davis and Baker, both longstanding eurosceptics, decided they could not support the policy, a person familiar with the matter said.

David Davis quit as the Brexit Secretary following a Cabinet summit at Chequers.

Some Brexit-supporting legislators 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.

Another minister may be leaving soon as well, the BBC reported.

He said that it looked "less and less likely" the party would deliver on the Brexit result.

Davis was made Brexit secretary in 2016 and was responsible for negotiating the United Kingdom withdrawal from the EU. Michael Gove, May's environment minister, said on Sunday that while the agreed negotiating stance was not ideal, he believed it delivered on handing back control to Britain.

She achieved a rare consensus in a key cabinet meeting on the way forward for the negotiations with the EU. That was meant to kick-start talks that have been stalled for months.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Johnson's allies said on Saturday that he decided not to quit because he wanted to remain in the government to fight for the kind of Brexit for which he had campaigned.

On Monday, May is due to brief lawmakers on the plan agreed by the Cabinet during its 12-hour meeting.

Davis, who campaigned for Brexit in Britain's 2016 referendum, told BBC radio that a hard-won agreement with her cabinet team of ministers had given "too much away, too easily" to European Union negotiators, who, he feared, would simply ask for more. Some lawmakers have already expressed their misgivings.

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.

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".

Trade Secretary Liam Fox put his name to a newspaper article backing the plan, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove defended the agreement in a TV interview.

"If the proposals are as they now appear, I will vote against them and others may well do the same", he said in an article for Monday's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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