“The odd man out.” This is what the former Brexit Secretary David Davis said he described himself as to Theresa May at Chequers last Friday.
Speaking on the Today programme earlier, Davis claimed that he could not continue with in the role with the negotiation policy as it was, because he believed Britain was giving away too much too easily, and that it was a dangerous strategy that was weak and possibly lead to an inescapable negotiating position. He had to leave his post because he could not fight for a policy which he does not believe in. Davis specifically cited problems with the common rule book.
However, Davis does not want to run for leader, and says he does not want more resignations from other Brexiteers, claiming it is different for him because he was Brexit Secretary and he was the one negotiating face to face with the EU.
Labour have responded through Shadow Treasury Minister for Sustainable Economics Clive Lewis, speaking exclusively to TPN, stated “It’s now evident the country, again because of Tory incompetence and infighting, faces a period of critical instability at a crucial juncture in the EU negotiations. She should, in the national interest, step aside and call a new general election and let Labour do the job of ending this nightmare once and for all.”
Keir Starmer, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, has also called for the PM to put her position to vote in parliament, but doesn’t call so far as calling for a general election, nor does John Mcdonnel, Shadow Chancellor, despite calling the current situation as a “paralysis in government.”
All eyes currently are trained on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. It is unclear what his next move would be. It is felt that to have any credibility to be the next leader of the Conservative Party, he needs to follow Davis and resign. This would truly bring down the government but, as yet, it is still unclear whether Brexiteers have the numbers to bring May down.
Clearly however the PM is worried, as this morning it has been revealed that Labour MPs have been invited to a briefing on the ‘Chequers deal’ by May’s Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell. This is a sign that May is scrabbling around for support for her position.
Davis has given Brexiteers a rallying call which the likes of Mogg could use. However, they are still not acting as a team, and are awaiting the announcement of either a further resignation or the new Brexit Secretary before fully understanding their position.