Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns

David Davis

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday appointed Dominic Raab, a staunchly pro-Brexit lawmaker, to replace David Davis as the most senior official in charge of negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union.

Conservative MP Peter Bone said Davis had "done the right thing", adding: "The PM's proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable".

His unhappiness in government has been no secret for some time, but after the prime minister's Chequers agreement with cabinet ministers to pursue closer ties with the European Union than he desired, he found his position untenable.

Mr Davis said he could not remain in his post because he no longer believed in the plan for the UK's future relations with the European Union which was backed by the cabinet on Friday.

The move, while not completely surprising, throws doubt on to how secure the government's Brexit strategy is.

All eyes are on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who is due to speak at a diplomatic conference later on Monday, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

However, even in that event it seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.

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Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leader of the party's "hard Brexit" faction, compared May's plan to an egg so softly boiled that it "isn't boiled at all". "It has been worrying the prime minister's advisers from the start". 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.

On Sunday he told the BBC he was urging Tory MPs to support Mrs May. He said his resignation was "not imminent" but refused to rule it out.

If Davis and Baker are the only major losses from the government over her plan for "a business-friendly" Brexit that proposes "a free trade area for goods" with the European Union, then May will be much safer.

Meanwhile, some Remain-supporting politicians said the resignation was evidence of the need for a second referendum. May doesn't have a majority in Parliament so every vote counts.

The Cabinet agreement on Friday to effectively stay in the single market for goods, and therefore water down any possibility of meaningful trade deals after Brexit, changed all that.

After a day when the foreign secretary cancelled meetings for crisis talks at his official residence in central London, Johnson made a decision to walk from his job - just hours after May's Brexit minister David Davis did the same in protest at her plans.

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

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