Jacob Rees-Mogg hails Davis’s ‘very important’ resignation

David Davis resignation: Reaction from allies and rivals from Jeremy Corbyn to Nicola Sturgeon

Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of a Conservative group of Brexit supporters, has said that the resignation of the Brexit Secretary proved Britain's deal to leave the EU offered Brexit in name only and that PM Theresa May should deliver what she promised.

 

David Davis’s resignation as Brexit Secretary has been hailed by fellow Eurosceptic Conservatives — and seized upon by opposition MPs as an indictment of Theresa May’s government.

Mr Davis quit on Sunday night in protest over Mrs May’s approach to Brexit, days after signing up to a British cabinet plan agreed at Chequers.

Arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg said the “very important” departure would “give reassurance to backbench Conservative MPs who want a proper Brexit that this was being delivered”.

“After the concerns over the Chequers summit, his departure raises even more questions over what came out of that meeting,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.

Mr Rees-Mogg, who leads the influential European Research Group of leave-supporting MPs, said the prime minister’s red lines were “rubbed out” at Chequers where attendees had been “steam-rollered” into supporting May’s policies.

He said: “These proposals will have to come to the House of Commons in legislation and the question is, will they command support from Conservative MPs?

“And I think without David Davis there, without his imprimatur, it will be very difficult for them to get the support of Conservative MPs and therefore the Prime Minister would be well advised to reconsider them.”

Embolden Brexiteers

Mr Davis’s exit is likely to embolden Brexiteer backbenchers with concerns about Mrs May’s leadership.

Senior Conservative Bernard Jenkin said Mr Davis had been left in a “completely impossible” position.

Asked if Brexiteers needed to put the PM’s future to a vote of the Conservative party, he replied “it may well come that”.

He told the Today programme: “If the prime minister thinks she has consent and support from every member of her cabinet she is deluding herself, as we have just seen.”

He added: “There’s been a massive haemorrhage of trust over the last few days because in all my meetings with the prime minister I never expected this to be the result.

Fellow Eurosceptic Tory MP Andrea Jenkyns, who resigned from her role as a ministerial aide over Brexit in March, said Mr Davis’s departure was “fantastic news”. Speaking to Today, Ms Jenkyns said Mrs May’s time was up as prime minister and she wanted a Brexiteer to lead the country.

“I think Theresa May’s premiership is over,” she said. “I want one who passionately believes in Brexit and will provide true leadership and a positive post-Brexit vision for our country.” 

Austrian chancellor

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed said that he was not focused on the “personalities” of Brexit.

“What we have been concerned about as a government for the last while now is the lack of official engagement (by the UK) with the Barnier task force and the absence of any concrete proposals coming from the British government.”

“We are not hung up on the personalities whether it is David Davis or Dominic Raab, what is really important is the substance of the engagement.”

The Minister was speaking at the border at Carrickarnon, Co Louth. He travelled there with the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Austria took over the EU presidency on the July 1st.

Chancellor Kurz said, “Our goal is to support the chief negotiator on Brexit, Michel Barnier, ” and, “I think we now have to work hard to find a way to organise the Brexit in a way that there are no negative outcomes for Ireland and especially for the region here.”

The DUP’s Sammy Wilson maintains that Ireland should be very concerned about the possibility of a no deal Brexit.

“Your government should be very concerned. The country that will suffer the most in a no deal is Ireland,” he told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

He said that “despite bullying by Leo Varadkar and Michel Barnier” a separate agreement for Northern Ireland will not be conceded.

“The government made very clear that no back stop that separates Northern Ireland from the UK will be accepted.”

The former DUP leader added that British Prime Minister Theresa May knows that support for her government from the DUP will depend on her maintaining that position “and not conceding one inch. That is a redline for us.”

‘Plunged into disarray’

Opposition MPs were quick to raise the prospect of a general election as a result of the major blow for the prime minister.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “David Davis resigning at such a crucial time shows Theresa 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.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “With a Prime Minister incapable of holding her ministerial team together & with such instability in government it’s impossible to see how EU leaders could take Theresa May seriously in the next round of negotiations.

“It’s time for her & her party to put country before party & go.”

Seema Malhotra, who sits on the Commons Brexit Select Committee, tweeted: “Will there be a domino effect?

“It’s now not inconceivable that May is gone within days or weeks, the Tories are plunged into disarray and a general election called.”

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner tweeted: “David Davis resignation now shows the Tory party is in complete disarray and not governing in the national interest.

“This nonsense cannot continue, even the Tory spin doctors cannot surely spin a positive message out of this debacle, it’s time for the Tories to go #ToryFail”

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry tweeted: “Government resignations since autumn: 1 November 2017 — Fallon 8 November 2017 — Patel 20 December 2017 - Green 29 April 2018 — Rudd 8 January 2018 — Greening 8 July 2018 — Davis There have been six resignations in 249 days. That’s one every six weeks.”

‘Utter chaos’

The Liberal Democrats, who back a second referendum on Brexit, said on Twitter: “The resignation of David Davis is yet more evidence of the chaos of this Tory Brexit. You deserve the final say on this shambolic Brexit with the chance to stay in the EU.”

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “The #chequers unity didn’t last long. This UK government is in utter chaos and ebbing authority by the day. What a shambles.”

Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Commons leader, tweeted: “It took the Tories two years to come up with a proposal and two days for it to fall apart!”

Mr Davis’s departure was met with dismay from business leaders who had called for greater certainty over the Brexit process.

Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the CBI, said there had been “real rays of light” in the Cabinet agreement on Friday and described the resignation as a “blow”.

She told Today: “This is a blow. One of the things that business welcomed on Friday was finally cabinet unity.

“That inability to take decisions over several months had become a huge challenge in terms of uncertainty.”– PA