David Davis bows his head.

The big question is if anyone else follows him.

David Davis has sensationally quit his post as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, throwing Theresa May’s government into chaos.

The Brexit Secretary had cut an increasingly isolated figure in recent months, having become a peripheral figure in talks with the European Union, as Theresa May and her chief Brexit aide, Olly Robbins, took control of the process.

His repeated threats to resign had weakened his pull around the Cabinet table – one Conservative Remainer recently likened him to Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, who contemplates leaving her husband for a prolonged period before ultimately recanting – and perhaps made Downing Street underestimate the risk that he would go.

The question now is whether other high-level Brexiteers will follow suit. Davis was one of seven Cabinet ministers who met at the Foreign Office before the Chequers summit where Theresa May won support for her Brexit deal. The others – foreign secretary Boris Johnson, environment secretary Michael Gove, international development minister Penny Mordaunt, trade minister Liam Fox, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom – may now feel that they have not alternative but to go the same way.

For Theresa May, it displays the limits of the approach which she used to win over Cabinet ministers at Chequers. She returned to her old playbook from the Home Office, sharply limiting access to paperwork and information ahead of the meeting. Crucially, not only mobile phones but special advisers were barred from the Cabinet awayday at Chequers, which meant that ministers had to swallow (or reject) the deal en bloc based on their own grasp of the details. (Traditionally an area in which David Davis has not excelled.)

But here’s the problem. That approach might have worked to …read more

Source:: New Statesman


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