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David Davis: Departs As Brexit Heading for ‘No Deal’

Written by on Jul 9, 2018

Article Written and Published by: Sky News

Breaking News: David Davis departure throws government Brexit plans into chaos

Concern grows there could be ‘no deal’ as a leading Brexiteer takes the job of convincing the EU to accept the Chequers proposals.

Dominic Raab is to be the new Brexit secretary after the shock resignation of David Davis plunged the government into crisis.

Mr Davis announced he was quitting late on Sunday, saying it looked “less and less likely” the party would deliver on the Brexit result and the Tory commitment to leave the customs union and single market.

He claimed on Monday morning he had no desire to weaken the prime minister, but said he could not be a “reluctant conscript” to her plans that were agreed by the whole cabinet last week.

The entire cabinet spent over 12 hours at Chequers on Friday thrashing out proposals which will act as the basis for what the British government would like UK’s future relationship with the EU to look like.

But Mr Davis’ resignation and uncertainty about the level of support for Theresa May’s Chequers proposals have left many people doubting the government will be able to deliver them – boosting the risk the UK could leave the EU with no deal.

Mr Davis was among those who agreed the proposals but he said he waited until Sunday before quitting because he had wanted mull over the decision.

His deputy in the Department for Exiting the EU Steve Baker also quit.

Mr Raab, a Brexiteer who takes over the role of negotiating with Brussels the detail of the UK’s Brexit agreement, was previously a housing minister, in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) under secretary of state James Brokenshire.

His job will be to convince the European Union – whose negotiators are led by Michel Barnier – that the PM’s plan for a new UK-EU free trade area for goods provides the best framework for a relationship after Brexit.

Chris Philp, a parliamentary private secretary in the MHCLG, told Sky News: “It’s a good appointment. He’ll command the confidence of the Brexit wing of the party. He’s very capable. I’ve worked with him in the housing department for the last six months.

“I’ve seen him up a close hand. He’s detailed, he’s forensic, he’s a lawyer by training and he’ll be across the detail in a way that will be extremely welcome I’m sure.”

But Sky’s political editor Faisal Islam said Mr Raab has a background in the Brexit process as a former Ministry of Justice minister.

“He has a certain reputation among Brexiters, although I understand on the Whatsapp groups some are suggesting he has sold out… He led some of the Withdrawal Bill proceedings in the House of Commons. When deals needed to be done with Dominic Grieve they talked of the ‘Dominics talking’, so he has a rooting in this debate.

“But now he has to get up to speed and he has to sell this deal.”

It came as the European Parliament’s chief Brexit official urged Britain to look beyond the departure of its chief negotiator and move forward quickly to clinch a deal with the EU.

Guy Verhofstadt said that it was “in the interest of the both that we move the negotiations forward”.

There was confusion on Monday morning about exactly how many of Mrs May’s government ministers had resigned, with No 10 being forced to put out statement confirming that another Brexit minister Suella Braverman was still in her post.

There was some speculation she may have got the top post herself after she refused to answer questions when pressed about her role by Sky’s Tom Rayner.

Mr Davis had told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it would be wrong for his departure to create a rebellion, saying: “I wouldn’t be encouraging people to do that.”

When asked whether Mrs May would survive, he said: “Of course.”

Sky’s Islam added: “The big question is ‘will other cabinet minister follow?’ It was pointed out to me from friend of Boris Johnson that he has not gone on the record backing this deal publicly. There has not been a tweet of support, unlike Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and unlike Chris Grayling and Liam Fox.”

Many political figures have been saying that Mr Davis’ resignation leaves Mrs May’s Chequers proposals in tatters.

Remain supporter and Labour peer Lord Adonis told Sky News: “The Chequers agreement stuff was never going to work. The only thing that’s going to work is something akin to Norway. What happened on Friday was an attempt to move to it – she’s had to move back because of David Davis’s resignation and appointing Dominic Raab, who’s as hardline as they come, means that she no longer has any freedom of manoeuvre.”

Tory Brexiteer Peter Bone added: “What the argument is about now is to try to get the prime minister to change her mind on this. We are going to leave the European Union. The question is what is our relationship… What will happen is there won’t be a parliamentary majority. We will then come out on World Trade Organisation rules, which I’ll be happy with.”

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