Davis’ resignation was first reported by the UK’s Press Association on Twitter. The full letter of resignation later appeared in the British media. It is “effective immediately,” according to Reuters, which cites a source close to Davis.
The resignation comes as PM Theresa May is taking flak for the “soft” Brexit deal she is planning to arrange with the EU. Following the Friday Cabinet meeting at Chequers, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called agreeing to May’s proposal “polishing a turd,” as he and several other high-ranking officials called for a tougher stance against Brussels.
Davis was “exchanging (resignation) letters with the PM,” Reuters cited its source as saying after the news of his resignation broke. When asked about Davis’ reasons for stepping down, the source reportedly said, “Chequers” in reference to the dragged-out Friday meeting.
In his resignation letter, Davis picks apart May’s approach to negotiating Brexit, saying that he was a “reluctant conscript” in implementing it rather than “an enthusiastic believer.”
“The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one,“ he wrote, adding that he believes that “the inevitable consequence of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control” of the Brexit procedure by the MPs “illusory rather than real.”
The proposed “common rule book” policy, he noted further, would effectively give the EU control of “large swathes of our economy” and “is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.”
May’s response to Davis’s decision is also making the rounds in the local press. The PM says she does not approve of his “characterisation of the policy agreed at Cabinet on Friday.”
“Parliament will decide whether or not to back the deal the Government negotiates, but that deal will undoubtedly mean the returning of powers from Brussels to the United Kingdom,” she wrote.
Shortly after news of Davis’ departure broke, UK media reported that Steve Baker, his deputy in the Brexit department, and another Brexit minister, Suella Braverman, also quit their posts. On Monday, a government official said Braverman had not resigned.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also weighed in, tweeting that the UK government “is in utter chaos and ebbing authority by the day.”
May, who is expected to present her Brexit demands to the EU on July 16 in Brussels, reportedly told her allies she was ready to sack Boris Johnson, a staunch Brexiteer, if he tries to undermine her Brexit negotiating position.