Britain’s Brexit minister steps down in blow to May

Michael Gove urges Tory unity

His departure comes two days after Theresa May secured the Cabinet's backing at a special summit at her countryside residence at Chequers, for her Brexit plan despite claims from Brexiteers that it was too "soft".

Davis quit late Sunday, saying he could not support May's plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the European Union, commonly known as a "soft Brexit", after the departure takes place next year.

His comments came after Andrea Jenkyns, who recently quit a Government role to campaign for Brexit, said she would vote against any such deal, adding "if the detail is as bad as were hearing, then I'm also prepared to put a letter into the [1922 Committee]".

Jacob Rees-Mogg says Brexit Secretary David Davis's resignation is a "real hope" for "rescuing Brexit".

British media reported that junior Brexit minister Steve Baker had also stepped down.

Following his late night resignation, Davis said it would not be "plausible" for him to carry on spearheading Brexit negotiations given his public concerns about May's policy.

Davis said Monday that he believed Britain was "giving too much away, too easily" in the exit talks, saying May's plan "would be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome".

Some want to use his resignation as a springboard for a leadership challenge, but Davis said he did not want it to become a rallying cry for May's ouster.

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Davis told UK Prime Minister Theresa May that it is looking "less and less likely" that the government will be able to orchestrate a full departure from the EU.

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. "An agreement was reached by the cabinet on Friday and now we are moving forward to negotiate that plan", the spokesman told reporters. "Others don't have that same responsibility".

After the hours-long meeting at Chequers, May seemed to have persuaded the most vocal Brexit campaigners in the cabinet, including Davis, to back her plan to press for "a free trade area for goods" with the European Union and maintain close trade ties.

The plan would see the United Kingdom sticking to European Union regulations in return for a free-trade deal with the bloc. Davis and Baker, both longstanding eurosceptics, decided they could not support the policy, a person familiar with the matter said.

But Davis had expressed his unease over a compromise plan right up until the eve of the meeting, writing a letter to May describing her proposal to ease trade and give Britain more freedom to set tariffs as "unworkable".

Some Brexit-supporting lawmakers are angry at the proposals, saying they will keep Britain tethered to the bloc and unable to change its rules to strike new trade deals around the world.

Some euroskeptic lawmakers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in the past has disagreed publicly with his boss.

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