In blow to May, UK’s top Brexit official quits government

Britain's Secretary of State for Departing the EU David Davis arrives in Downing Street in London

David Davis has resigned as Brexit Secretary in a major blow to Theresa May.

In a resignation letter sent to May late Sunday night United Kingdom time, Brexit Minister David Davis said it was looking "less and less likely" that the Conservative-led government would be able to deliver on its "manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market".

With several Conservative MPs taking to social media to praise Mr Davis' announcement, it is unclear whether the Prime Minister's Brexit plan can command the support of her own party, or if she can avoid a leadership challenged triggered if 48 members of her parliamentary party send letters of no confidence to the chairman of the 1922 Committee.

His shock departure was followed by that of Brexit ministers Steve Baker and Suella Braverman, all co-ordinated as part of a bombshell move on Sunday night.

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.

An opinion poll found that 35 per cent believe the Brexit compromise agreed by the Cabinet is the best deal Britain will get from the European Union, while 38 per cent dismissed it as a sell-out.

On Monday, May is due to brief lawmakers on the plan agreed by the Cabinet during its 12-hour meeting.

In a resignation letter devastating for the PM's standing with Leavers, he said "the current trend of policy and tactics" made it "less and less likely" she would deliver "on the mandate of the referendum and on our manifesto commitment to leave the customs union and the single market".




"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.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph on Monday, Mr Rees-Mogg said: "If the proposals are as they now appear, I will vote against them and others may well do the same".

She also said that Environment Secretary Michael Gove is the favourite to take on the vacant post.

Chief whip Julian Smith was inviting MPs to Downing Street to hear from the Prime Minister's chief of staff Gavin Barwell for a briefing on the Chequers proposals in a bid to win them round ahead of Monday's meeting. That was meant to kick-start talks that have been stalled for months.

Veteran Tory Eurosceptic Sir Bill Cash told Sky that discussions were now being held as to whether Mrs May's plans amounted to a "proper Brexit".

Davis - who has been leading Britain's negotiations to leave the bloc - said he was not willing to be a "reluctant conscript" to May's plan, which we argued would leave Parliament with "at best a weak negotiating position".

Conservative MP Peter Bone said Davis had "done the right thing", adding: "The PM's proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable".

It seemed like the most damaging line to emerge from the summit was Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson's description of the plans as a "turd".

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