Britain’s Brexit minister steps down in blow to May

Elias Hubbard
July 9, 2018

In a letter responding to Davis' resignation, she said she was "sorry" he had chosen to resign and argued her proposal was "consistent with the mandate of the referendum".

In a resignation letter circulated by local reporters, Davis told May he has repeatedly disagreed with the government over the past year and that it is looking "less and less likely" that the government can deliver Brexit per voters' wishes.

He has been a strong pro-Brexit voice in a Cabinet divided between supporters of a clean break with the bloc and those who want to keep close ties.

May won the backing of her Cabinet on Friday for a plan that would create a "U.K. -EU free trade area". "The time has come that we need a Brexiteer prime minister".

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis arrives for a Brexit subcommittee meeting at Downing Street in London, Britain, May 2, 2018.

Labour shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said leaving the European Union without a deal would be "intolerable", and denounced the plans for a so-called facilitated customs arrangement "unworkable" and a "bureaucratic nightmare".

While May's plan for exiting the European Union has not been fully revealed to all members of her party - let alone to Parliament, the business community or the public - the brief outline that was released shows she supports a middle way of compromise with Brussels, keeping Britain closely aligned with Europe on standards, "a common rule book for industrial goods and agricultural products".

"He is exchanging (resignation) letters with the PM", the source said.

May replied to his letter to say she did not agree "with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday".

After Keir Starmer failed to rule out the possibility of a new Brexit vote, the Today programme host said: "Well, that's weasel words, if you forgive me".

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party, said the resignation was proof May "has no authority left and is incapable of delivering Brexit".

And what does all of that mean for Brexit - the most important political issue of the day - and one on which the clock is ticking?

The strategy, which is due to be detailed further in a White Paper later this week, looks to keep the United Kingdom remaining inside a free-trade area with the European Union for goods and agriculture, but not for services.

The loss of her Brexit negotiator, and potentially another junior minister in the ministry, just two days after the meeting at May's Chequers country residence is a blow to the prime minister and underlines the deep divisions in her ruling Conservative Party over Britain's departure from the EU.

- 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.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson backed the proposals at Chequers, despite claiming that defending the plans was like "polishing a turd" during the meeting. "Well done David Davis for having the principle and guts to resign".

She is set to tell MPs there have been "robust views" on Brexit among cabinet members and is also expected to announce a replacement for Davis.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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