Dominic Raab has been named as the UK’s new Brexit Secretary after David Davis resigned in protest of “a business-friendly” deal to leave the European Union.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office announced the appointment of Raab, a former minister for housing, on Monday morning.
The resignation of Davis on Sunday evening has dealt a major blow to May, who has struggled to unite factions within her ruling Conservative Party.
Davis quit only two days after May had secured approval from her cabinet to negotiate a “common rulebook for all goods” in a combined customs territory.
The British prime minister said her cabinet also agreed to negotiate regulations for industrial and agri-food goods, ending the free movement of people, the supremacy of the European court and “vast” payments to the bloc.
In his resignation letter, Davis said he did not want to be a “reluctant conscript” and that he thought the plan approved “is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense”.
In a letter responding to Davis’ resignation, May said she was “sorry” he had chosen to resign and argued her proposal was “consistent with the mandate of the referendum”.
Junior Brexit Ministers Steve Baker and Suella Braverman resigned shortly after Davis.
‘A fake Brexit’
The Tory leader’s hard-won proposal was agreed to at her Chequers country retreat after marathon talks on Friday.
Tory Brexiteers have voiced concern about the agreement, with the chairman of the campaign group, Leave Means Leave, accusing May of personally deceiving Brexit campaigners.
“May’s Brexit means BRINO – ‘Brexit In Name Only’ – a fake Brexit,” said John Longworth, co-chairman of Leave Means Leave.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a key figure in the Conservative Party’s “hard Brexit” faction, which supports relinquishing access to the EU’s single market in exchange for full border control, said the deal would be “worse” than a UK exit from the EU with no deal at all.
“A very soft Brexit means that we haven’t left, we are simply a rule-taker,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday.
Pro-Brexit MP Andrea Jenkyns in a tweet praised Davis for “having the principal and guts to resign”.
Fantastic news. Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign. I take my hat off to you. We need to make sure this is now a game changer for #Brexit.
— Andrea Jenkyns MP (@andreajenkyns) July 8, 2018
‘No authority left’
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, said the resignation was proof that May “has no authority left and is incapable of delivering Brexit”.
“With her Government in chaos, if she clings on, it’s clear she’s more interested in hanging on for her own sake than serving the people of our country,” he tweeted.
Thomas Brooks, a professor of law and government at Durham University, told Al Jazeera that the resignation was “very bad” for Britain’s embattled prime minister and “calamitous” for the country’s Brexit negotiations.
Citing previous calls for a leadership challenge, Brooks said he would not be surprised if Davis himself challenged May or put his support behind someone else.
“There’s going to be a challenge almost certainly in the next hours or days,” Brooks said.