Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Britain's Brexit minister David Davis steps down

Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns | RNZ News Britain's Brexit secretary suddenly resigns
Russell Knight | 09 July, 2018, 17:53

British foreign minister Boris Johnson resigned on Monday, following former-Brexit minister David Davis out of the cabinet just days after Prime Minister Theresa May secured a hard-won agreement from senior ministers on an European Union exit strategy.

In a surprise move, the secretary in charge of negotiating Brexit has announced his resignation, saying a proposal announced last week hands over too much power to the European Union as a condition for Britain's departure from the bloc.

Junior Brexit Ministers Steve Baker and Suella Braverman resigned shortly after Davis.

"I like Theresa May, I think she's a good prime minister", Davis said.

David Davis has threatened to resign on a number of occasions as Brexit Secretary.

Davis was appointed two years ago to head up the newly created Department for Exiting the European Union after Britain voted to leave the bloc in a referendum.

She said she had been told by a source that either Theresa May "dumps" the plan signed off at Chequers or "another minister will go, then another, then another, then another".

In her reply, Mrs May said: "I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at cabinet on Friday".

The official portrait of David Davis.

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"A very soft Brexit means that we haven't left, we are simply a rule-taker", he said.

"It is now clearer than ever that Theresa May does not have the authority to negotiate for Britain or deliver a Brexit deal that protects jobs and the economy".

Jacob Rees-Mogg, a key figure in the Conservative Party's "hard Brexit" faction, which supports relinquishing access to the EU's single market in exchange for full border control, said the deal would be "worse" than a United Kingdom exit from the European Union with no deal at all.

The vast majority of Tory MPs, although far from happy with the current state of May's government, are not yet convinced that the solution is to replace the prime minister.

She will face them at a meeting of the party later on Monday.

She said the government's Brexit plan was "far from perfect" but marked "grown-up steps". But some senior pro-Brexit ministers have backed May's plan. He played a leading role in the Brexit campaign in the run up to the 2016 referendum.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of a Conservative group of Brexit supporters, said Davis' resignation proved that their concerns were well-founded and signaled that he would not vote for May's plan if it came to a vote in parliament. Michael Gove, May's environment minister, said on Sunday that while the agreed negotiating stance was not flawless, he believed it delivered on handing back control to Britain.

He told Reuters. "If the Brexit Secretary could not support them (the Chequers conclusions) they cannot genuinely be delivering Brexit".

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