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UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned

UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis has resigned

Just two days after warring factions in May's cabinet approved the plan in a bid to unblock negotiations with Brussels, long-time eurosceptic Davis announced he was stepping down in a letter scathing of the agreement.

While May has supported a "softer" exit from the European Union, which leaves room for trade and continued financial ties with the bloc, many conservatives prefer a total break.

The double resignation on Sunday has the potential to derail May's government and set in motion a chain of events that could lead to an attempt to oust her as prime minister.

Their complaints raise a question mark over whether May can win backing in parliament for her plans if any deal with the European Union is agreed later this year, and some suggest several of them could try to trigger a leadership contest against her.

The financial markets have responded in remarkably sanguine fashion to the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Davis' resignation was followed by that of Exiting the EU Minister Steve Baker.

Davis said Monday that he believed Britain was "giving too much away, too easily" in the exit talks, saying May's plan "would be a risk at least of delivering a poor outcome".

"I'd have to deliver this".

"A very soft Brexit means that we haven't left, we are simply a rule-taker", he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Saturday.

More news: Wimbledon: De Minaur ready to 'leave it all out there' against Nadal

Davis himself on Monday said that he would not support a leadership challenge against May, who is a long-term ally. "That's not a tenable position".

Conservative MP Marcus Fysh on Monday also refused to give his support to the prime minister, describing the government's policy as a "stinker" and warning: "If Theresa May wants to break her manifesto pledges that is up to her [but] these things have consequences". "Others don't have that same responsibility".

He was particularly critical of the proposal for a "common rulebook" to allow free trade in goods, saying this "hands control of large swathes of our economy to the European Union and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense".

At the meeting, May pressed Davis and other government officials to back her plan for maintaining close trade ties with the EU, Reuters reported.

Brexit supporters argue that the move to follow the EU's rule book on trade will hamper the UK's ability to strike trade deals around the world, and will keep the country subservient to Brussels. Davis and Baker, both longstanding eurosceptics, decided they could not support the policy, a person familiar with the matter said.

But leading pro-Brexit legislator Jacob Rees-Mogg said, "I don't think a no-confidence vote is immediately in the offing".

May's plan would create a free trade area with the European Union for goods, to protect supply chains in areas such as manufacturing, while maintaining flexibility for Britain's dominant service sector.

Some Brexiteers dream of replacing May with a staunch Brexiteer, such as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who in the past has disagreed publicly with his boss.


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