Wednesday, 6 July 2022 – 12:07

Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns amid Prime Minister’s new proposal

David Davis, the Brexit Secretary who has been leading the UK negotiations with EU counterparts, has resigned from government. 

It is understood that he no longer feels as though he is the best person to deliver to the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan. This has been agreed at Chequers last week with the Prime Minister declaring that cabinet unity over the plans had been reached. 

However, just before midnight on Sunday July 8, Mr Davis said he felt that the UK was no longer the best person to deliver PM’s Brexit plan. 

In his resignation letter, Mr Davis argued that plans set out at Chequers over the weekend left the ‘supposed control’ Parliament is intended to achieved ‘illusory rather than real’. Furthermore, the flagship policy of maintaining a common rulebook with the EU, to guarantee trade in goods and avoid a hard Brexit border would seek to hand control of ‘large swathes of the economy’ over to the EU Davis claimed. 

Mr Davies unhappiness with the government policy on Brexit has been no secret. Mr Davies described himself from the outset as the ‘odd man out’, and as a prominent Eurosceptic, found himself at odds with the PM’s position on a range of UK-EU proposals. This is something he himself admitted in his resignation letter, but said this time accepting Collective Ministerial Responsibility, whereby Ministers present a united face despite personal differences, was not possible. 

Whilst this resignation is there not a complete surprise, it does case considerable doubt on how secure the government, and its Brexit strategy, is. 

His resignation comes as a major blow to the PM, who is seeking to win over Eurosceptic Conservative MPs to her proposed vision of Brexit. She will later attend a meeting of the influential 1922 Committee.

The backdrop to this appeal to Eurosceptics are the ever-present differences within the Conservative Party over how far the UK should compromise in EU negotiations, and importantly, what degree of importance is placed on the economy. 

With a Parliamentary majority dependent upon the key votes of 10 DUP MPs, any split in the Parliamentary conservative Party questions whether or not this plan, and government, would survive. This is the approach that the Opposition has taken in their assessment of the resignation. 

The Labour Party has responded with Chairman Ian Lavery arguing that the Conservative Party was in a state of ‘absolute chaos’ and that the PM has ‘no authority left’. 

Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who in response to the claims of cabinet unity last week suggested that it was soon to unravel, agreed that this resignation as such a ‘crucial time’ show how ‘incapable’ the government is as delivering Brexit. He raised prospects of an early election, suggesting that Mrs May ‘clings on’ for her own sake. 

Once again, this raises the questions of both what options the Government will choose, and whether this current May-led Government will be choosing the options. 

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