David Davis quits as Brexit Secretary leaving Theresa May facing a crisis

Monday, 09 Jul, 2018

UK Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned, along with two other Brexit ministers.

Before his letter of resignation was made public, Davis's allies told the British press that he was resigning because he could not support the soft Brexit plan pushed forward by May at a crunch cabinet meeting Friday at the prime minister's countryside estate, called Chequers.

Davis's late-night resignation undermined May's already fragile government.

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.

David Davis' resignation comes days after Theresa May secured the cabinet's backing for her Brexit plan despite claims from Brexit supporters, known as Breexiters, that it was too "soft", BBC News reports.

Davis, who campaigned for Brexit in Britain's 2016 referendum, told BBC radio that a hard-won agreement with her cabinet team of ministers had given "too much away, too easily" to European Union negotiators, who, he feared, would simply ask for more.

So to criticise Friday's plan, ministers would have to resign and immediately give up ministerial staff, salary, and perks including government cars.

The proposal, which was worked out during a 12-hour meeting at Chequers, the prime minister's country residence, would keep the United Kingdom and E.U.in a free trade zone for good and have Britain maintain European Union regulatory and customs rules for manufacturing and agricultural products.

"In his resignation letter, Davis said he believes May's plan will "make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real", as the "'common rule book policy' hands control of large swathes of our economy to the European Union and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense".

Britons voted 52 to 48 percent to leave the E.U.in a June 2016 referendum, and the plan is to exit on March 29, 2019.

Mr Davis talks of the "significant number of occasions in the past year. on which I have disagreed with the Number 10 policy line, ranging from accepting the Commission's sequencing of negotiations through to the language on Northern Ireland in the December Joint Report".

Ian Lavery, chairman of the main opposition Labour Party, said: "This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left". The EU has warned Britain that time is running out to seal a divorce deal. Those talks have all but stalled over difficulties in finding a solution to issues such as the future of the Irish border after Brexit and how goods will flow across it.

The staunchly pro-Brexit Conservative MP Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: "Fantastic news".

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson described the proposals as "polishing a turd", according to the Mail on Sunday.

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.

Now some Conservatives who are pushing for a hard Brexit threaten that the prime minister could soon face a no-confidence vote.

But it became the silence of others such as David Davis, which hinted at the uneasiness of the truce which had been agreed.