David Davis resigns as Brexit Secretary and Theresa May could face vote of no confidence

David Davis resigns as Brexit Secretary and Theresa May could face vote of no confidence

Monday, July 9, 2018

Brexit secretary David Davis has resigned from his position and said the government’s soft Brexit plans would leave them in a “weak” position.

Junior minister Steve Baker followed Davis’ example and also quit in the early hours of Monday morning.

Fellow Brexit minister Suella Braverman is also reported to have stepped down.

‘Principled decision’

Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone welcomed Mr Davis's resignation, saying it was "a principled and brave decision", while Andrea Jenkyns said Mr Davis's departure was "fantastic news" and hailed Mr Baker as "another courageous and principled MP".

Jenkyns quit her role as a private secretary in May to campaign for Brexit, and told talkRADIO last week that she thought resignations were a “possibility” at Chequers.

It was reported last week that any ministers who resigned at Chequers would have to get their own transport home.

Vote of no confidence

The Prime Minister now faces a meeting with the 1922 Committee of Tory backbenchers this evening, and could face a vote of no confidence if 48 MPs demand it.

Theresa May had hoped that the Cabinet agreement secured on Friday at Chequers would help her deliver the "right Brexit" for the UK, with an offer to Brussels to share a "common rulebook" on goods and form a new UK-EU free trade area.

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North West Leicestershire and a Brexiteer, told talkRADIO that he wants to “keep [promises] to my electorate” and that he couldn’t support the deal May set out at Chequers.

When asked by Julia Hartley-Brewer if he’d sign a letter demanding a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister, he said: “That depends on how the Prime Minister’s position shifts between now and that meeting [tonight]. There’s got to be movement, and it depends how far she moves.”

"It's obviously disappointing to hear David has stepped down," said James Cleverly, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party. 

"He doesn't feel that we were able to get the deal he was happy with. From my point of view, I think it's a good deal, it delivered the elements people were hoping for, we're leaving the EU."

‘Weak negotiating position’

In his resignation letter, Davis said the "current trend of policy and tactics" was making it look "less and less likely" that Brexit would deliver on the referendum result and the Tory commitments to leave the EU customs union and single market.

He said "the general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one".

The "common rulebook" plan "hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense," he wrote.

"I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions… The responsibility for leading the negotiations should now go to an "enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript,” he said.

PM ‘does not agree’ with Davis

In her reply, May told him: "I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed on at Cabinet on Friday.

“I am sorry that you have chosen to leave the Government when we have already made so much progress towards delivering a smooth and successful Brexit and when we are only eight months from the date set in law when the United Kingdom will leave the European Union."