Published On: Fri, Apr 27th, 2018

BREXIT BOMBSHELL: David Davis 'ready to RESIGN' if Britain stays in EU customs union

Friends of the Brexit Secretary David Davis have told the Daily Express that he is “extremely frustrated” with the direction of Government policy and “feels he has been cut out of the decisions.”

The threat to walk out comes ahead of a crunch meeting on Wednesday where the cabinet sub-committee on Brexit is set to debate the complex plans for a customs partnership which Brexiteers have already said is unacceptable.

A source close to Mr Davis has said that his final decision “is very much dependent on what happens at that meeting. It is pretty crucial.”

It is understood that if Mr Davis decides to walk on a point of principle then other Brexit supporting ministers may follow him out of the door precipitating a major crisis for Theresa May.


David Davis is 'on the brink of resigning'GETTY

Brexit Secretary David Davis is ‘on the brink of resigning’



David has told me he is on the brink of resigning. He is completely fed up.

A senior Tory MP

According to friends of the Brexit Secretary, he feels that he has been “cut out of the loop” since late last year and replaced by senior civil servant Olly Robbins, who is based in Downing Street.

Mr Robbins has been described as “an arch Remainer” and recently a delegation to Downing Street led by Jacob Rees Mogg demanded his sacking.

A senior Tory MP who is close to Mr Davis told the Express: “David has told me he is on the brink of resigning. He is completely fed up. Policy is being completely directed by Olly Robbins who does not support Brexit and has pushed this ridiculous customs partnership proposal.

“I think he [Davis] feels he can’t achieve anything anymore the way things are and fears that he may get blamed to an unacceptable fudge which could be extremely damaging.” 

David Davis is frustrated over the customs unionREUTERS

David Davis is said to be frustrated over the UK’s customs union stance

Another friend of the cabinet minister said: “From the conversations I’ve had with him I am surprised he has not quit already. He is depressed about the whole thing and it is insulting the way that May has allowed Robbins to run the show.”

A senior MP added: “It’s no secret that Davis wants to walk. He’s said as much to me. I think if he goes others will follow and that will be a major problem for the Prime Minister and leave her very damaged.”

The influence of Mr Robbins has been a concern for Brexit supporting MPs for several months. The issue was raised when a delegation of senior Tory Brexit supporting MPs met the Prime Minister on Thursday night.

An MP told the Express: “The problem is we go in and think we have persuaded the Prime Minister to do the right thing with Brexit. Then after we leave she talks to Olly Robbins and does the opposite.”

Mr Davis has previously resigned from the front bench on a matter of principle which has made colleagues believe he is serious this time.

Insiders says Davis is fed up with Olly RobbinsGETTY

Insiders says Davis is fed up with Olly Robbins, a senior civil servant in his department

He quit as shadow Home Secretary under David Cameron’s leadership to fight a by-election in protest over Labour introducing 42 days detention before terror suspects needed to be charged.

The Brexit sub-committee row on Wednesday centres over a plan dreamed up by the civil service for Britain and the EU to have a customs partnership with the EU. This would mean that Britain acts as a tax collector for Brussels and has to deal with a huge amount of bureaucratic red tape.

Former Brexit minister David Jones has been a leading critic of the proposal which Mr Rees Mogg has also described as “unacceptable”. Mr Jones said: “It will be a bureaucratic nightmare for us and worse still make it almost impossible to have free trade deals with the rest of the world.

“While technically we could strike trade deals the need to collect the EU’s tariffs will tie us to the EU’s customs union and act as a major disincentive to other countries to make agreements with us.”

David Davis' resignation is said to be 'fantasy'AFP

A Senior DExEU source said rumours of David Davis’ resignation was a ‘Remoaner fantasy’

The row has become even more intense after Home Secretary Amber Rudd earlier this week suggested that the UK could still be tied into a full customs union with the EU.

Ms Rudd, known as one of the leading Remainers in the cabinet, has been accused of trying to undermine a clean Brexit throughout the negotiations. If she succeeded in getting Britain to stay in a customs union with the EU it would mean that the UK could not control its own trade policy and like Turkey would need permission from Brussels to make separate agreements.

The problem has come over EU intransigence over the Northern Ireland/ Ireland land border which its has been accused of trying to use to force Britain to stay under its rules. Remainers have also pushed for Britain to have a customs union with the EU as a means of reversing the historic EU referendum result.

But last night a former Remainer Tory MP warned that if Britain did not have a “clean Brexit” then it would undermine faith in democracy in the UK. 

Tory MP Matt Warman said: “I would say to my colleagues, democracy must come first. What people voted for, whether some in this place like it or not, is a clean break because that is what allows us to have the control that people voted for.”

Last night sources from within the Brexit department were trying to play down the threat of Mr Davis resigning claiming it was a “Remoaner fantasy.”

A senior source said: “This is nonsense. No one is more committed to seeing Brexit through than DD. He’s going nowhere, despite what anonymous mischief making remoaners might fantasise about.”

Meanwhile EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has tried to rubbish the City of London and claim that the EU has nothing to lose by not having full access to it anymore.

___________________

COMMENT – NABIL NAJJAR

Director of grassroots group Conservative Progress

DAVID Davis has been a strong voice for conservatism and a stalwart Brexiteer for years and is highly respected within the party.

His careful, intelligent, methodical approach has been a hallmark of many of the things he has done as a politician and have characterised his time as Brexit Secretary.

Put simply there is no better person for the job and that is why Theresa May appointed him in the first place.

These negotiations have been long and difficult, in part because of the ideological attitude taken by the European Union and the determination of some factions to undermine the democratic will of the British people.

David Davis is 'the best man for the job'AFP / GETTY

David Davis is ‘the best man for the job’ says Tory Nabil Najjar

As someone who voted Remain I accept the need to deliver on the result of the referendum, and had there been a sense of national unity after the referendum, and had the EU accepted the result and worked in the best interests of ordinary people across the bloc, things may have been different. 

Unfortunately this has not been the case. This is why somebody like Mr Davis is so good for the job.

He can command the respect of Leave supporters, whilst finding intelligent and pragmatic ways to negotiate the many hurdles which have been placed in the Government’s way, to the detriment of the British people.

I struggle to think of someone who could do the job better, and at this crucial stage, we cannot afford to lose our Brexit Secretary and risk leaving a hole in our negotiating strategy going forward.

If the reports are true that he has been sidelined in favour of Remain-supporting senior civil servants who are determined to push through a customs deal which might harm Britain, then it is very concerning indeed.

The Civil Service is a mechanism of Government, but must at all times remain accountable to our democratically elected politicians.

The focus must be on getting the right deal for Britain, free of Brussels influence and meddling.

The British people voted to take back control, and Government must respect that.

The UK now needs the freedom to negotiate its own trade deals and chart its own course forward.

Daily Express :: News Feed