David Davis Leaves DexEu As Dominic Raab Enters.
Last night, the Secretary of State of the Department for Exiting the European Union, David Davis, resigned. Davis argued in his resignation letter that he could no longer go on compromising his beliefs in pursuit of collective responsibility, the Government protocol that stipulates all Cabinet ministers must be aligned on Government policy. He referenced previous decisions on which he had had to concede, including the Government’s position on Northern Ireland and on the Government’s backstop position discussed last month.
This is one of those moments that inspires theories of elections, mass resignations and political crisis – Brexit must surely now be cancelled? No. The Prime Minister has, despite her critics, created an atmosphere of calm and stability, albeit it without the strength. Add to this, the lack of appetite from any senior Conservative to take over and the even greater lack of Parliamentary appetite for another General Election. It must be remembered that the Fixed Terms Parliament Act, brought in by the coalition, still prevents a Government from simply calling a General Election, or from calling a vote of no confidence.
It is likely that the dust will settle this morning, with Dominic Raab announced as the new Secretary of State and so the cogs will continue to turn. 44 year old Raab, was a Leave campaigner in 2016, entering Parliament in 2010 where he was previously Minister of State for Housing and Local Planning.
The Chequers position agreed to (now a rather ironic reflection) represents a significant movement in formal policy, towards a soft Brexit, with lots of room left to go. It is unlikely the EU would agree to it, or any form of alternative realisation of the single market, but it shows a willingness to prevent the UK from simply falling out the EU.
The next 24 hours will prove crucial for the Prime Minister and her team. Let it not be forgotten there is still a Trade Bill in Parliament…