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Sat, 28 March 2020

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Dominic Raab becomes new Brexit secretary after shock David Davis exit

Dominic Raab becomes new Brexit secretary after shock David Davis exit
3 min read

Dominic Raab has been named as the new Brexit Secretary following the shock resignation of David Davis.


The frontbencher, who campaigned for Vote Leave during the EU referendum and has been tipped as a future Tory leader, has been speedily appointed by Theresa May as she tries to restore order to the Government.

Ironicially, he served as Mr Davis's chief of staff when he was Shadow Home Secretary under David Cameron, and did the same job for Dominic Grieve until the 2010 election.

Mr Davis quit the Cabinet late last night with a stinging attack on Theresa May's Brexit strategy.

He said he could no longer continue as "a reluctant conscript" to the Prime Minister's approach, and said the deal she thrashed out with her Cabinet at Chequers on Friday handed too much power to Brussels.

"In my view the inevitable consequence of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real," he warned.

The arch-Brexiteer later insisted that his decision to quit would in fact strengthen Mrs May's hand in talks with the EU.

"She has got to have a Brexit Secretary who will deliver on her strategy," he told the Today programme on Radio 4. "That’s not weakening - that’s actually enhancing the effectiveness of her strategy."

Lawyer Mr Raab, the MP for Esher and Walton, was junior minister for civil liberties in Mr Cameron's government, but was sacked when Theresa May became Prime Minister in 2016.

However, she appointed him minister of state for courts and justice a year ago, and then made him housing minister in her frontbench reshuffle in January.

Mr Raab takes over from Mr Davis at a critical time, and his first job will be to present the Government's white paper on Brexit later this week.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said the appointment of Mr Raab "changes nothing".

“The deep division at the heart of the Conservative Party has broken out in public and plunged this Government into crisis," the Labour frontbencher said.

“It is now clearer than ever that Theresa May does not have the authority to negotiate for Britain or deliver a Brexit deal that protects jobs and the economy.”

COWER

In an interview with The House magazine last month, Mr Raab said the UK must now "cower in the corner" during the Brexit negotiations.

He said the Government must come up with an aspirational message on Brexit – and not allow “the din of criticism to swallow up the debate”.

He said: “Britain is a great country. We’ve got a huge amount going for us, from our commercial nous and the ability of our entrepreneurs, through to English as the lingua franca for business, for law, and all those cultural soft power aspects.

“I think we should go into these negotiations with a bit of economic self-confidence. The economy has held up and proved far more resilient than some of the naysayers suggested. We should go into it with political ambition. So, yes, mitigate the risks but we should grasp the opportunities.

“One thing I get nervous about, or anxious, is that we don’t cower in a corner so fixated on the risk that we look somehow afraid of our own shadow. Britain is a hell of a lot better than that.

“So, yes, let’s take the risks seriously. I don’t want to be cavalier about that. But let’s also grasp the opportunities. If we do that and we show a team effort, then this country will go on to bigger, better things.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Number 10 chief of staff Gavin Barwell is holding a briefing for opposition MPs this afternoon to explain to them the Government's Brexit strategy.

Read the most recent article written by Kevin Schofield - Public support for government's handling of coronavirus outbreak continues to grow

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