David Davis ditches resignation plan and signs up to Theresa May's backstop proposal

Posted On: 
7th June 2018

David Davis has ditched plans to quit the Government following showdown talks with Theresa May over her approach to Brexit.

David Davis has decided not to resign.
PA Images

Allies of the Brexit Secretary said it was "50/50" whether he would resign ahead of a crunch meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss her plans for a "backstop" agreement with Brussels to avoid a hard Irish border.

Mr Davis was angry that Mrs May's proposal - which will be published later today - does not include a specific end date, leading to concerns that the UK will be tied to the EU indefinitely.

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But following "constructive" talks in the Prime Minister's Commons office this morning, Number 10 said they were confident Mr Davis would still be in his job by the end of today.

It is thought to be the fifth time the Brexit Secretary has considered resigning but eventually backed down.

That means he has agreed to sign up to the contents of the four-page document, which would only come into force if no other solution was found to the problem of maintaining an invisible border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

It is expected to be discussed and formally approved by Mrs May's Brexit war Cabinet later this afternoon.

However reports emerged at midday that Mr Davis had been called back in to see the Prime Minister because the previous meeting had ended with no conclusion. 



Mrs May also held talks with Mr Davis's fellow Brexiteer Cabinet colleagues Boris Johnson and Liam Fox. Again, Number 10 said they have been "constructive".

The Brexit Secretary had made clear his frustration following a speech in London yesterday.

He said: "The detail of this is being discussed at the moment. It's been through one Cabinet committee, it's going to another one and it will be improper of me to pre-empt the negotiation there but I suspect it will be fairly decisive tomorrow."

Asked if he would have to resign if the backstop document was published without his approval, Mr Davis replied: "That's a question I think for the Prime Minister, to be honest."

Mr Davis is also known to be unhappy at delays to the publication of a government White Paper setting out what it wants to achieve from Brexit.

He said: "There's lots of stories about the White Paper and my views. My general response is in debates in Whitehall between fast and slow, I normally vote for fast. That's probably a given."