Britain's Brexit minister steps down in blow to May

Britain's Brexit minister steps down in blow to May

Brexit Secretary David Davis, who has been leading negotiations to leave the European Union, has resigned from the government.

Mr Davis shocked the Prime Minister by telling her he could not support the Brexit plan agreed at Chequers on Friday, prompting speculation that a wave of Cabinet resignations could follow.

He was joined by one other minister in his department, Steve Baker, and there are many reports that Suella Braverman has also quit.

Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg hit out at the "defeatism" in the Government's plans, warning that he would vote against them - and suggested other Eurosceptics may do the same.

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.

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said she understands Mr Davis was "furious" after a meeting at Number 10 earlier on Sunday and "concluded he could not stay in post".

The whole cabinet had been summoned to Chequers and spent more than 12 hours thrashing out the proposal for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

Ian Lavery, chair of the Labour Party, said: "This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left".

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A letter reported to be circulating among Tory MPs on Sunday is said to accuse her of "complete capitulation" and making promises that were "a pretence and a charade meant to dupe the electorate".

"Outside of the EU, Britain will be nimbler, more open to innovation and technological change, at the same time as driving up global standards", he wrote.

"[Under the agreement set out] we will be a rule-taker, we will not be able to make the trade deals we hoped for".

However, Michel Barnier, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, welcomed the plan and said: "I am ready to adapt our offer should the United Kingdom red lines change".

But some senior pro-Brexit ministers have backed May's plan.

There has been substantial disquiet among Brexiteers about the Chequers agreement proposals - shown to Germany's Angela Merkel before her own Cabinet, according to some reports - which would leave Britain effectively still inside the EU's Single Market for goods and agricultural products but outside the Single Market for services - such as it is - and subject to a "common rulebook" dictated by the European Union court, as well as bound to European Union standards on state aid, employment, and other regulations and forced to collect customs duties on the bloc's behalf, among other onerous obligations.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a leading Brexit supporter, was widely reported to have described the plan as a "turd" before agreeing to support it. She can not deliver Brexit and our country is at a complete standstill, while the Tories indulge in their leadership tussling.

Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic MP allied to Mr Davis, told the BBC that he didn't see how the prime minister could get her Brexit plans through Parliament, and also that he couldn't see how she continue in her position if she didn't give into anger from the Conservative backbenches.

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