Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Brexit minister Davis steps down in big blow to May

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.

Brexit Secretary David Davis reportedly resigned after a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that frustrated him, according to Reuters.

His late-night resignation, followed by at least one other minister in the Brexit department, is a blow to May, who was momentarily buoyed on Friday after seemingly thrashing out a deal to keep the closest possible trading ties with her cabinet to support her plans to leave the EU.

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.

Other Brexit supporting Conservative lawmakers have criticised the so-called Chequers "peace deal", saying that May's plans offered only a Brexit in name only, a betrayal of what they saw as her promise for a clean break with the EU.

Theresa May faces the greatest threat to her leadership since the general election as she prepares to confront furious backbench MPs on Monday in a bid to convince them to rally behind her Brexit plans. All eyes will now be on prominent Eurosceptic Boris Johnson as to whether he leads a push against the prime minister.

David Davis has resigned as Brexit Secretary.

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".

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Interestingly, Mr Davis' resignation letter makes no mention of a pledge of loyalty or commitment to the Prime Minister.

"I would like to thank you warmly for everything you have done over the past two years as Secretary of State to shape our departure from the European Union", she added.

"I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet", she said. The EU has warned Britain that time is running out to seal a divorce deal. It seeks to keep the United Kingdom and the European Union in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.

The shadow Brexit Secretary said: "John, what we've said is there needs to be a meaningful vote in Parliament".

Labour MP Seema Malhotra, who sits on the Commons Brexit Select Committee, tweeted: "Will there be a domino effect?" "Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign".

What appears to have kickstarted the resignations, however, is May's reintroduction of "collective responsibility", a British convention which means ministers are formally banned from disagreeing with government policy, including the Brexit plan. 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.

"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.

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