Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns: Brexit News for Monday 9 July

Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns: Brexit News for Monday 9 July
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Brexit Secretary David Davis resigns over the Chequers proposal…

Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned from the UK government. His departure comes days after Theresa May secured the cabinet’s backing for her Brexit plan despite claims from critics that it was “soft”. Mr Davis was appointed to the post in 2016 and was responsible for negotiating the UK’s EU withdrawal. Junior minister Steven Baker quit shortly after Mr Davis – as Mrs May prepares to face MPs and peers later. He said he was “unpersuaded” that the government’s negotiating approach “will not just lead to further demands for concessions” from Brussels. Mr Davis said: “The general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.” In her reply, Mrs May said: “I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed at Cabinet on Friday.” She said she was “sorry” he was leaving but would “like to thank you warmly for everything you have done… to shape our departure from the EU”. – BBC News

Attention will turn to Boris Johnson, who described Mrs May’s Brexit blueprint as “a big turd”, to see if he too might quit in an attempt to oust Mrs May and replace her with a Brexiteer. Up to half a dozen backbench Tory MPs are said to be preparing to submit letters to the Party expressing a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister after she signed the Cabinet up to a “soft” Brexit plan, which could be enough to force a confidence vote in her.  Mr Davis went to see Mrs May and Chief Whip Julian Smith at 8pm on Sunday night to tell them of his decision. Friends of Mr Davis said his resignation was “sad but principled”. – Telegraph (£)

  • Cabinet in crisis as David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary – The Times (£)
  • David Davis resigns – The Sun
  • Brexit secretary David Davis resigns – City A.M.
  • Davis’s resignation from the Cabinet has been met with praise from Conservative Brexiteers – Express
  • Who could replace Davis as Brexit secretary? – Sky News
  • Why David Davis resigned – James Forsyth for The Spectator
  • Resignation of Brexit Secretary – John Redwood’s Diary
  • Davis resigns. My part in his downfall. – Paul Goodman for Conservative Home
  • David Davis was right to fear the consequences of the PM’s Chequers deal – Shanker Singham for the Telegraph (£)

> On BrexitCentral today:

…along with Junior Brexit minister Steve Baker…

The return of Brexit minister Steve Baker to the backbenches reunites an army of angry Tory Leavers with their general. Baker, until last night the most doctrinaire leaver inside government and one of the few sincere advocates for a no-deal exit on the government payroll, is far more deserving of a place on the list of people who got the Brexit vote than most. In the long parliamentary war over Brexit, the born-again Christian has played general and quartermaster to Eurosceptic Tories with an evangelical zeal and considerable success.  In 2015, as founding chairman of Conservatives for Britain, the predecessor organisation to Vote Leave, he corralled over a third of the Tory parliamentary party into a push against David Cameron’s renegotiation, and for Brexit. – Patrick Maguire for the New Statesman

… as May is warned by Jacob Rees-Mogg he would vote to reject her Brexit offer…

Theresa May has been warned her Brexit deal faces rejection in Parliament after the Tories’ most influential backbench Eurosceptic said he would be joining Labour in voting against the “defeatist” proposal. Writing in The Telegraph, Jacob Rees-Mogg says he will vote against Mrs May’s “misfounded” Cabinet agreement and suggests other Conservative Eurosceptic MPs will do the same. Mr Rees-Mogg, who leads of a 60-strong group of Tory Brexiteers, says that “if the proposals are as they currently appear I will vote against them and others may well do the same”. Mr Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group of backbench Tory Eurosceptics, says the Chequers deal is “the ultimate statement of managing decline. It focuses on avoiding risk, not on the world of opportunity outside the EU. Pragmatism has come to mean defeatism.” – Telegraph (£)

  • The reins of Brexit have been handed to those who never wanted to leave – Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for the Telegraph (£)

…while some Brexiteer MPs threaten to topple the Prime Minister…

Brexiteer MPs have launched a bid to topple Theresa May – and replace her with Jacob Rees-Mogg. Eurosceptic Tories said they were so furious with the PM’s Chequers deal that they’re willing to throw her out of power. And they insisted the only possible replacement is Mr Rees-Mogg – blasting Boris Johnson for refusing to stand up to Mrs May. The PM has won the support of her Cabinet for a plan which would tie Britain closely to the EU permanently. The proposal would see the UK keep European rules on goods, and strike a customs deal which would keep trade flowing across borders. Brexit-backing MPs have blasted the plan – and expressed fury at the failure of pro-Leave ministers to shoot it down during the Cabinet summit at Chequers on Friday.  – The Sun

  • Letters calling for no confidence vote pile up ahead of party showdown – Express
  • Moggmentum reaches the Commons  – Steerpike for The Spectator
  • Theresa May is failing to deliver Brexit and her Chequers compromise could usher in Jeremy Corbyn – The Sun editorial

…in advance of May addressing Tory MPs this evening

Prime Minister Theresa May faces a crunch meeting today as she attempts to keep her party onside amid grumblings of a leadership challenge and a growing backlash over her newly-revealed Brexit negotiating position. May will meet Conservative backbenchers on the party’s powerful 1922 Committee to try to persuade them to back the plan, which would involve a customs union for goods alongside regulatory divergence for services.The government will unveil a white paper on Thursday, giving more details on the model agreed by the Cabinet at last week’s away-day at Chequers, the Prime Minister’s Buckinghamshire residence. – City A.M.

  • Our Brexit offer to the EU has had to change, yes – but it still fulfills the vote to Leave – Theresa May for the Telegraph (£)

Gove calls for EU ‘flexibility’

Britain is prepared for ‘no deal’ and will walk away from the Brexit negotiations in March 2019 unless the European Union starts making concessions, Michael Gove has said. The Environment Secretary has warned Brussels that ministers have agreed to “step up” no-deal preparations and that if it remains “ungenerous and inflexible” Theresa May will have to “contemplate walking away”. Defending the Prime Minister’s controversial Brexit plan, which came in for fierce criticism from Tory Eurosceptics this weekend, Mr Gove said that Britain had shown “flexibility” and the Government expected Brussels to reciprocate. – Telegraph (£)

  • Michael Gove urges Tories to back Theresa May’s plan – BBC News
  • Gove: ‘No deal’ Brexit still possible in spite of new government agreement – City A.M.

> WATCH on BrexitCentral’s YouTube channel: Michael Gove’s interview with Andrew Marr

UK keeps crown as best in Europe for financial services investment

The UK has kept its crown as the top location in Europe for financial services investment, despite Brexit uncertainty causing projects to decline. In 2017, UK financial services brought in 78 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects, higher than any other country in Europe, although it was down from record levels of 106 the year before. The findings from EY’s UK Attractiveness Report, released today, said financial services investment into Europe enjoyed a 13 per cent rise in 2017, while investment into the UK fell by 26 per cent. – City A.M.

  • UK still top location for financial services investment as banks await Brexit results – Telegraph (£)

Theresa May: Our Brexit offer to the EU has had to change, yes – but it still fulfills the vote to Leave

An up -front commitment to maintain a common rule book for goods and agricultural products, underpinned by our determination to maintain high standards in consumer and employment rights and environmental standards, will enable the creation of a UK-EU free trade area for goods. This common rule book, and a new business-friendly customs model, will ensure both frictionless trade with the EU and the freedom to strike new trade deals around the world. A Parliamentary lock on all new rules and regulations will restore sovereignty and democratic accountability, ensuring that the men and women you elect will make the laws we all live by. – Theresa May MP for the Telegraph (£)

Shanker Singham: David Davis is right to fear the consequences of the PM’s Chequers deal

So the Cabinet has agreed what the UK will propose in the Brexit trade negotiations with the EU, but David Davis, the man responsible for conducting those negotiations, has resigned. Who is right? First, ministers have agreed a free trade area for goods, including agri-food, which will require not just regulatory alignment, but a commitment “by treaty to harmonisation of EU rules on goods”, now and into the future. There is an inconsistency in the text. Alongside the specific reference to harmonisation, there is also a reference to a “common rule-book” between the UK and the EU, with parliamentary oversight and a right not to incorporate any rule, accepting that this will have consequences in terms of loss of EU market access. – Shanker Singham for the Telegraph (£)

Brendan O’Neill: Theresa May’s sell-out on Brexit is a grave insult to the democratic ideal

It is time to put Theresa May’s betrayal of Brexit into its proper historical context. Her plan for Remain by another name, to keep Britain entangled in the rules and laws of an institution that 17.4million of us instructed our politicians to leave, represents a blow not only to Brexit, but to democracy itself. This is what is at stake now: not only our physical, political leaving of the EU – which is incredibly important – but also the very principle of democracy. The principle that the everyday person, regardless of his or her background, wealth or educational achievements, has the same clout as the richest, cleverest people in the land when it comes to steering the nation. This ideal now lies in tatters, as May and virtually the entire establishment make it clear that they value some voices more than others. – Brendan O’Neill for Spiked

Chloe Westley: Lib Dem tuition fee fiasco is nothing compared to the Tory Brexit sell-out

Polling conducted on behalf of Change Britain found that 32 per cent of voters would be less likely to vote Conservative if the Government agreed a deal which results in UK laws being subject to rulings by EU courts. And more than a quarter would be less likely to support the Conservatives if Brussels maintained some kind of control of the UK’s ability to sign free trade agreements with other countries. When the Liberal Democrats betrayed their pledge not to raise tuition fees, they were punished by the electorate in 2015. Brexit is, of course, even bigger than that. Many of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit wanted Britain to become an independent country. They thought that vote would mean something. If the Conservatives forsake their election pledge to deliver a clean Brexit, they don’t only risk losing future elections, but may for decades struggle to shake off the image of betraying the largest democratic vote in British history. – Chloe Westley for ConservativeHome

Jonathan Roberts: Technology is the answer to the frictionless trade problem

Technology is crucial to this discussion. The reason we stop traffic at customs is to identify the origin of the goods and the origin of the vehicle transporting them. If a technological solution could be found for this, frictionless trade could almost be guaranteed. Technology could, for instance, determine the origin of goods and log that information before they had even left their country. Number plate recognition technology could match the passage of the vehicle to the information on the goods already logged. Lorries could be paired with their logged customs declarations in the government’s Customs Declaration Service system. This is not space-age stuff. Already, the technology exists, but UK customs and border control has not implemented and integrated it into in existing infrastructure in such a way as to allow for frictionless trade on the day we leave the EU. – Jonathan Roberts for City A.M.

Brexit in Brief

  • The Chequers Conclusion. A Memorandum – Martin Howe QC for Briefings for Brexit
  • How much more unpalatable will the EU make this deal?.- James Forsyth for The Spectator
  • Don’t blame Cameron for the government’s Brexit mess – Chris Key for The Spectator
  • May’s Brexit offer bears no more meaning than Chamberlain’s declaration of peace – Peter Divey for CommentCentral
  • Why the People’s Vote is a Bad Idea by Bryn Harris – Bryn Harris for Briefings for Brexit