David Davis has resigned as British Brexit secretary of state for exiting the European Union, according to reports.
“He is exchanging (resignation) letters with the PM,” a source close to the minister said on Monday, according to Reuters. When asked why he was resigning, the source added: “Chequers.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday accepted Davis’s resignation.
“I would like to thank you warmly for everything you have done over the past two years as Secretary of State to shape our departure from the EU,” she said.
According to The Telegraph, Steve Baker, a minister who worked for Davis in the Brexit department, had also resigned.
The resignations came on Sunday night following tensions in the cabinet over Prime Minister Theresa May’s vision for Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU.
“Fantastic news. Well done David Davis for having the principal and guts to resign,” Brexit campaigner and Conservative lawmaker Andrea Jenkyns said on Twitter.
“I take my hat off to you. We need to make sure this is now a game changer for #Brexit.”
Conservative MP Peter Bone welcomed his resignation saying he had “done the right thing.”
“The PM’s proposals for a Brexit in name only are not acceptable,” he added.
Labour Party chairman Ian Lavery said, “This is absolute chaos and Theresa May has no authority left.”
Davis was appointed Brexit secretary in 2016 and was responsible for negotiating the British withdrawal from the EU.
Davis to May: You are undermining Brexit
The following is Davis’s resignation letter to Prime Minister May, according to Reuters.
“Dear Prime Minister
“As you know there have been a significant number of occasions in the last year or so on which I have disagreed with the Number 10 policy line, ranging from accepting the Commission’s sequencing of negotiations through to the language on Northern Ireland in the December Joint Report. At each stage I have accepted collective responsibility because it is part of my task to find workable compromises, and because I considered it was still possible to deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market.
“I am afraid that I think the current trend of policy and tactics is making that look less and less likely. Whether it is the progressive dilution of what I thought was a firm Chequers agreement in February on right to diverge, or the unnecessary delays of the start of the White Paper, or the presentation of a backstop proposal that omitted the strict conditions that I requested and believed that we had agreed, the general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.
“The Cabinet decision on Friday crystallized this problem. In my view the inevitable consequence of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real. As I said at Cabinet, the “common rule book” policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense.
“I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions.
“Of course this is a complex area of judgment and it is possible that you are right and I am wrong. However, even in that event it seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript. While I have been grateful to you for the opportunity to serve, it is with great regret that I tender my resignation from the Cabinet with immediate effect.