UK: David Davis resigns as Brexit Secretary

Daniel Fowler
July 10, 2018

Davis's late-night resignation undermined May's already fragile government, which has lost several ministers in the past year over sexual misconduct allegations and other scandals. One other ministers in his department has also quit, with reports that another has done so.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has secured government agreement for her Brexit stance, which envisages free trade area for goods and seems to have appeased Brexit supporters in her cabinet.

"While we continue to hope and advocate for the best outcome possible, we are simply being prudent by preparing a contingency".

Speaking ahead of the Eastern Partnership summit, Mrs May said: "The summit here today is all about taking stock and about looking ahead to see how we can tackle the shared challenges together, both in security and development".

Mr Gove said the Prime Minister "allowed us, during the course of a day, to share views, to share analyses and to look at this proposal in detail but at the end of it collective responsibility reigns".

The UK would of course continue to play a strong role in shaping the global standards that underpin them, and Parliament would have oversight of the incorporation of these rules into the UK's legal order - with the ability to choose not to do so, recognizing that this would have consequences.

Officials in the bloc have repeatedly warned that Britain can not "cherry pick" benefits of membership, such as access to the customs union and single market, without accepting the responsibilities that come with being in the bloc, including allowing free movement of EU citizens to the United Kingdom.

Those advocating a hard Brexit feel that Mrs May's plan to keep Britain closely aligned to the EU customs union and single market in relation to industrial goods and agricultural products would create a "Brexit in name only".

In another sign of widespread confusion, Steve Baker, who resigned as David Daviss deputy at the Brexit ministry, charged on Monday that they had been "blindsided" by Mays new proposals. With those two advantages, the prime minister appears to hold her colleagues in check.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was looking forward to the publication of the white paper and the EU would consider whether the proposals are "workable and realistic".

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The outgoing minister suggested that Mays promise that Britain and its parliament would "take back control" from Brussels was hollow.

She thought she had done enough to move on with that fraught process at the meeting at her Chequers country residence.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May tries to unite her cabinet on a plan for the UK's future trading relationship with the EU.

Opposition Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said May's proposal had "fudge written all over it".

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the eurosceptic European Research Group (ERG) of Conservative MPs, refused to condemn the plan outright. My concern is that the PM's red lines got rubbed out.

"It is not practicable in customs terms to guarantee free goods transit between the European Union and Britain as well as own free trade agreements with third countries, as Britain wants", said Thilo Brodtmann, head of Germany's Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA).

But the hard-won compromise may yet fall flat with European Union negotiators.

Conservative former minister John Redwood asked Mrs May to "clear away the ambiguity or contradictions in the Chequers statement which implies we would give the ECJ powers, we might pay money to trade and we might accept their laws and we might have their migration policy".

Of more immediate importance is how the European Union will react.

British Prime Minister Theresa May secured cabinet agreement on Friday for her plans to leave the European Union, overcoming rifts among her ministers to win support for "a business-friendly" proposal aimed at spurring stalled Brexit talks. "It was the right thing to do". Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign.

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