The U.K. Brexit Secretary Has Quit Just Days Before Trump Visits Embattled PM Theresa May. Here’s What It Means
The man responsible for overseeing the U.K.’s exit from the European Union has resigned, just four days before President Trump’s controversial first official visit to the U.K.
Brexit Secretary David Davis announced his resignation via a letter sent late Sunday night to Prime Minister Theresa May. Citing a series of disagreements between himself and the “Number 10 policy line,” Davis noted that he believed it to be “less and less likely” that the government would be able to “deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market.”
Davis further warned that the current direction of the government is headed in “will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one,” later telling BBC radio that the government had given “too much away, too easily” to EU negotiators.
Davis’ resignation comes at a critical time for the British government and specifically for Prime Minister May. May’s Conservative Party holds a very slim majority in Parliament, which has been threatened in recent weeks by a possible no confidence vote.
Confidence in May is likely to drop further with Davis’ resignation—leaders from the left and the right have already suggested that May has lost what little authority she had left.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted “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.”
Meanwhile, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage tweeted that “May’s response shows that she is controlled by the civil service. For Brexit to succeed we must get rid of this awful, duplicitous PM.”
The departure could also spur additional resignations, which could serve to further damage the U.K.’s ability to present a united front in upcoming negotiations with the EU. The U.K. is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but the nature of the country’s trade relationships with the EU has yet to be determined.
President Trump is slated to be in the U.K. for a four-day visit starting on Thursday, July 12. The visit has become a source of great controversy in the U.K., and Trump will be met by a “Stop Trump” activist march in central London, as well as a monstrous balloon hovering over Parliament, depicting him as a growling, orange infant.
Number 10 announced Monday morning that Dominic Raab, a Brexit-supporting minister, has been named as Davis’ replacement.