Fox News and The UK Daily Mail are among the news outlets reporting the resignation of Brexit secretary David Davis from his post. The conservative secretary resigned over his frustration with a negotiated deal by PM Theresa May for a “soft” UK departure from the European Union.
Reports that a new secretary, Conservative Dominic Raab, has been appointed to the vacated post by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Britain’s most senior official in charge of negotiating the country’s exit from the European Union resigned Sunday, two days after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for Brexit.
In a blow to the beleaguered prime minister, Brexit Secretary David Davis told May in a letter that the government’s proposals for future trade ties with the bloc “will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.”
Davis’s late-night resignation undermined May’s already fragile government, which has lost several ministers in the past year over sexual misconduct allegations and other scandals. Davis was a strong pro-Brexit voice in a Cabinet divided between supporters of a clean break with the bloc and those who want to keep close ties with Britain’s biggest trading partner.The staunchly pro-Brexit Conservative lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns tweeted: “Fantastic news. Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign.”
Jenkyns said Steve Baker, a junior minister in the Brexit department, had also quit. There was no immediate comment from Baker.
Less than nine months remain until Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019, and the EU has warned Britain repeatedly that time is running out to seal a divorce deal.
On Friday, Davis and the rest of May’s fractious Cabinet finally agreed on a plan for future trade ties with the EU.
May is due to brief lawmakers Monday on the plan hammered out during a 12-hour meeting at Chequers, the prime minister’s country retreat. It seeks to keep the U.K. and the EU in a free-trade zone for goods, and commits Britain to maintaining the same rules as the bloc for goods and agricultural products.
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.
In his resignation letter, Davis said the “‘common rule book’ policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.”
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.
“In my view, this policy has got a number of weaknesses. I would be front and centre in delivering this policy, explaining it to the House, persuading the House it is right, and then going out and delivering it with the EU,” he told the BBC’s Today program on Monday morning.
The United Kingdom has been on a path to withdrawal from the European Union since a referendum taken on June 23, 2016. At issue at the time of the referendum were these three issues, here briefly excerpted from this article in Forbes Magazine dated July 5, 2016:
Economics: Opponents of the EU argued that it is a dysfunctional economic entity. The EU failed to address the economic problems that had been developing since 2008… for example, 20% unemployment in southern Europe.
The difference between the lives of southern Europeans and Germans—who enjoy 4.2% unemployment—is profound. Europe as a whole has stagnated economically.
The argument for remaining in the EU was that the alternative was economic disaster. However, staying in a stagnated organization to solve British problems seemed shortsighted and made little sense to opponents…
Sovereignty: The second reason for Brexit is the rise of nationalism across the world.
There’s a growing distrust of multinational financial, trade, and defense organizations created after World War II. The EU, the IMF , and NATO are good examples of this.
Many who oppose the EU believe these institutions no longer serve a purpose. Not only that, these organizations take control away from individual nations. Mistrust and fear of losing control made Brexit a reasonable solution to them.
… The immigration crisis in Europe was a trigger. Some EU leaders argued that aiding the refugees was a moral obligation. But EU opponents saw immigration as a national issue, as it affected the internal life of the country. Steering clear of this issue was an important driver for the “leave” vote.
The EU doesn’t understand the power of nationalism. It attempts to retain nationality as a cultural right. On the other hand, it deprives individual nations of the power to make many decisions.
This may have worked before 2008, but it has become increasingly difficult to accept.
Political Elitism: Finally, the political leadership of Britain faced a profound loss. The “leave” voters rejected both the Conservative and Labour parties. Both parties had endorsed remaining with the EU and saw many of their members go into opposition on the issue.
Ultimately, it was a three-way struggle. Two established parties wanted to remain in the EU, and a third faction, drawn from both parties, opposed it. People in this third group saw both of the establishment parties as hostile to their interests.
This should be considered in the broader sense.
The possibility of Brexit frightened financial markets. They said so loudly. What they did not grasp was the degree to which they had lost legitimacy in 2008.
Most “leave” supporters believed that the financial industry’s recklessness and incompetence had created a disaster for many. Besides, they saw no benefit to themselves in the success of the financial industry… even though it wasn’t true.
It’s vital to understand that Brexit was a vote against the British elite. Voters thought politicians, business leaders, and intellectuals had lost their right to control the system.
Voters thought the elite had contempt for their values—for their nationalism and interests.
This is not a new phenomenon in Europe. This is not a British phenomenon, either. It is something that is sweeping Europe and China. And with the rise of Donald Trump, it’s also present in the United States.
Trump’s entire strategy is to attack both the Democratic and Republican leadership… and the elite who have contempt for the nationalism and moral principles of those beneath them.
It is as yet unclear what the effect on the present makeup of the British government will be. However, strong speculation exists that PM Theresa May is in trouble. According to the Daily Mail:
The Davis-led Brexit rebellion will throw negotiations into chaos and leaves Mrs May in a perilous position as she faces the House of Commons and then a potentially stormy meeting of Tory MPs on Monday.
The PM insists she has chosen the ‘right Brexit for Britain’ and is ‘no sell-out’ as she tries to quell a backbench revolt despite being accused by some Tory MPs of trying to deliver a ‘soft Brexit’ which would keep Britain tied to EU rules.
The Prime Minister secured Cabinet backing for her strategy in a marathon meeting at Chequers on Friday and was set to urge the Conservative Party to ‘stand united’ behind her in a showdown meeting with backbenchers tonight.
But Eurosceptics plotting against the Prime Minister earlier claimed MPs have begun sending no-confidence letters, which will trigger a leadership contest if 48 are received.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.