Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns

Geneva Stokes
July 9, 2018

British media outlets say the most senior official in charge of negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union has quit Prime Minister Theresa May's government.

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.

"Fantastic news. Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign", Brexit campaigner and Conservative lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns said on Twitter.

In his resignation letter, Mr Davis said he could no longer be an "reluctant conscript" to the Prime Minister's strategy on leaving the EU.

Mr Dodds, who was a director of Vote Leave, the official pro-Brexit campaign, said it was now clear that all of the United Kingdom would leave the United Kingdom together, adding: "Republicans may be disappointed as they tried their best to seize this as an opportunity to weaken the Union".

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Davis' resignation "at such a crucial time" shows that May "has no authority left and is incapable of delivering Brexit".

Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic MP allied to Mr Davis, told the BBC that he didn't see how the prime minister could get her Brexit plans through Parliament, and also that he couldn't see how she continue in her position if she didn't give into anger from the Conservative backbenches.

"The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one", Davis said in his resignation letter to May.

His unhappiness in government has been no secret for some time, but after the prime minister's Chequers agreement with cabinet ministers to pursue closer ties with the European Union than he desired, he found his position untenable.

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It would involve a "facilitated customs arrangement" meant to remove the need for a hard border in Ireland, and the creation of a UK-EU free-trade area, in which the UK would abide by a "common rule book" of EU regulations.

Davis has threatened to resign during his time as head of the Department for Exiting the European Union on several occasions.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "If the proposals are as they now appear, I will vote against them and others may well do the same".

Mrs May will have a key meeting with members of her Tory party to discuss her plan in Parliament on Monday. Mr Rees-Mogg refused to support her and said that "she would be well-advised to revisit her Brexit policy".

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson backed the proposals at Chequers, despite claiming that defending the plans was like "polishing a turd" during the meeting.

"All those of us who believe that we want to execute a proper Brexit, and one that is the best deal for Britain, have an opportunity now to get behind the prime minister in order to negotiate that deal", he told the BBC.

She said the government's Brexit plan was "far from perfect" but marked "grown-up steps".

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.

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