LIVE THREAD: Davis (and Johnson) quit, takes junior ministers with him…

23:59 A fascinating day comes to an end. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our coverage, and do continue the debate via the comments section. Goodnight from all at LDV!

21:34 And I think that that’s it as far as the Cabinet and major posts go, as Geoffrey Cox becomes the new Attorney General.

No women, very little new blood, but it looks as though the Brexit/Remain balance has been broadly maintained.

It does feel like an administration limping from one crisis to the next, but like the grey skies over mid-Suffolk this evening, you can’t rule out thunderstorms. And who’s that coming over the horizon? Yes, it’s Donald Trump…

21:22 Jeremy Wright gets DCMS. This is beginning to look more like musical chairs than a reshuffle, but just as the country approaches the deadline for reaching a deal, a bunch of Cabinet members are mastering new briefs. I’d have tried to minimise that if I were Prime Minister.

And, in other news, Suella Braverman apparently hasn’t resigned, but Chris Green and Conor Burns have.

Simon Hart, the Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, had this to say in response to Green’s resignation;

Charming, eh?

21:17 And it’s Matt Hancock from Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to Health and Social Care, which now leaves the Department for Fun vacant, although I’m guessing not for long. George Osborne will be pleased…

21:07 Jeremy Hunt? Really? But isn’t he getting ready to spend twenty billion unicorns on the NHS? An opportunity to promote one of the new intakes lost, and a hospital pass (literally) for his successor at Health.

I’m not doing anything at the moment, Theresa, I’d make a decent Minister…

19:26 We now also have Boris Johnson’s resignation letter.


In truth, I guess that there are relatively few Liberal Democrats who care why he has gone, although some of us would like to see him charged with treason. We await news of a replacement, although if it has to be anyone, David Lidington would at least be credible.

16:43 As Theresa May is questioned in the House of Commons, it seems that public confidence in her ability to get a good deal for Britain has fallen to a new low.

Meanwhile, whilst Sterling held up well following the news of David Davis’s resignation, it has fallen on the news of Boris Johnson’s resignation. Go figure…

15:53 One of the Conservative “rebels” has broken cover with a call to suspend the Article 50 process.

15:23 John Leech has probably got it right here…

15:10 And now Boris is gone, which will disappoint the participants at the EU Western Balkans Summit that he was supposed to be speaking to this afternoon.

It feels like an England cricket team, just one delivery short of a spectacular collapse.

Will the third of the Three Amigos, disgraced former Minister, Liam Fox, be next? After all, he hasn’t really got a job anymore…

13:22 We now have an official Party statement;

Commenting on the upheaval at the Department for Exiting the EU, Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson, Tom Brake said:

Theresa May has had almost two years to put together a coherent proposal for the future of our country and has wholly failed to do so.

With just eight months to go before Brexit, and a new ministerial team being inducted, extending Article 50 is the only viable option left for the Conservative Government.

If Theresa May does not act immediately she will drive the UK right off the Brexit cliff. I hope the Prime Minister will see sense
and listen to the Liberal Democrat call for a final say on the deal so that we can exit from Brexit.

12:47 We have confirmation that not only are Opposition MPs being briefed by Gavin Barwell, May’s Chief of Staff, but Opposition Peers too…

I wouldn’t imagine that he’ll get an easy ride there…

10:32 It’s Dominic Raab… That might reassure the Brexiteers. Clever, former solicitor, but how up to speed is he? And will he be in charge of the negotiations?

10:23 We were led to believe that a new Secretary of State for DExEU would be announced at 9 a.m., and still no white smoke from Downing Street. Have senior Conservatives worked out that the job’s a poisoned chalice?

09:10 And here’s Vince’s first thoughts…

I have to admit though, the temptation to just call for Brexit to be scrapped feels right…

08:25 Here’s the Davis resignation letter…

07:15 If my understanding is correct, the only Ministers left at DExEU this morning are Lord Callanan, the Minister of State, and Robin Walker, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State. Presumably, Theresa May will be considering replacements for Davis, Baker and Braverman, but what else will happen?

We can apparently expect a statement from Boris Johnson, and it is rumoured that the Chair of the 1922 Committee has enough letters to require a leadership contest. Jacob Rees-Mogg has already condemned the Chequers Accord, so it’s probably time to invest in popcorn manufacturers.

Here’s what Tom Brake has to say;

Let us know what you think in the comments below, and we’ll try and update the thread as stories break…

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53 Comments

  • Jackie Charlton 9th Jul '18 - 7:26am

    Actually, for once I don’t agree with Tom Brake on this. I think David Davis has been principled here. Don’t like him and disagree fundamentally with his views but he could never go back to Brussels with this deal. We all know that. #ExitFromBrexit must be the way forward now and we need to be prepared for that general election which must cohesion.

  • Yeovil Yokel 9th Jul '18 - 7:32am

    I’m not sure that even dozens of Royal Thai Navy SEALS and foreign professional cave divers could rescue May from this hole.

  • William Fowler 9th Jul '18 - 7:33am

    Davies always seemed like a fall guy for Mrs May so no surprise he got fed up. It is all good democracy, the country is split down the middle so is the cabinet so is parliament. No sign of Sir Vince riding to rescue, though.

  • Peter Martin 9th Jul '18 - 7:36am

    With the resignation of David Davis, it looks like there is an unholy alliance developing between staunch Remainers, who aren’t quite the spent force some might have thought, and uncompromising Brexiteers, who would both like to scupper any delicately balanced compromise. We’ll then either leave with ‘no deal’ or we won’t leave at all. They will be the only choices.

    There will have to be a deal with the EU, at some point and in some form, but it will then only be struck after we’ve been out for a period of time and the political possibility of not leaving at all has vanished.

    But, for now, the stage looks to be set for May to be swept aside in the next few weeks and an all-or-nothing battle to decide the matter. Real Remain. Or Real Brexit. The EU could force the pace if they declare the May plan to be unworkable and scupper it themselves. Then Mrs May will either have to resign or accept the inevitability of a ‘no deal’ solution.

    Interesting times!

  • This seems to be playing out the only way it can. In chaos. I have always believed that May instinctively wanted a soft Brexit and that was the only way they could square the circle re the Irish border. If we crash out without any deal and go to WTO rules, what of the Irish border then ? Scots are keeping their powder dry, the SNP choosing the moment of maximum chaos to make their move. I blame Cameron.

  • Nonconformistradical 9th Jul '18 - 8:13am

    “It has always been inevitable that Brexiters would try to run away from any responsibility by claiming that this is not their Brexit….”

    Isn’t that what traitors do?

  • David Davis was given a task to do and, to be fair to him, he tried to do it. His big mistake was to believe the fantasy that “They need us more than we need them” and to seriously consider that ‘They’ would accept conditions that could be dictated in hours/days.

    The reality is that the world has moved on since we became part of a ‘Common Market’ and we have become almost inexorably bound to the EU. Like the ‘Gordian Knot’, trying to unravel the strands is almost impossible and Davis favoured an ‘Alexander’ hard ‘Brexit’. May is a ‘Remainer’ who has adopted ‘Leave’ for political reasons; Gove and Johnson will adopt whatever benefits themselves.

    Davis has gone, Gove has upset the hard leavers by his support for May’s ‘soft exit’ and Johnson, as usual, has kept a foot in both camps by both accepting and condemning May’s position. Over the next few days there will be turmoil and recriminations and I’m not certain what faction will prevail

  • William Fowler 9th Jul '18 - 8:33am

    Perhaps I am living in a fantasy world, too, but I really hope the EU will come up with a better deal than Cameron achieved and offer it at the moment of max chaos – LibDems should be at the forefront of this process – and therefore getting the max number of Brits on their side for a second vote (which would be necessary if a new deal was on offer) rather than being portrayed as bullies which would have the max number coming out against remaining.

  • Sandra Hammett 9th Jul '18 - 8:51am

    Theresa the Glass Lady is the fall gal for this one, the Brexiteers can now entirely blame her and her unpalatable fudge, waste a load of time and force either an election, a leadership contest or the Full Brexit. All under the ‘principle’ of the majority not getting what they want ie however the Brexiteers interpreted the EU ref result.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Jul '18 - 9:12am

    David Davis seems to me to have acted with integrity. Boris Johnson is incapable of acting with integrity; he will wait as always to see which way forward will best further his ambition. If there is a challenge to Mrs May, it seems unlikely he would be elected to replace her. As has been the case for many months, there is no probable successor in view, and I can’t see the Tories wanting a General Election, so perhaps she will hang on. The one thing I feel certain about is that Parliament won’t allow us to crash out of the EU with no deal. This developing situation does seem to make the possibility of another referendum, which is what Vince has tweeted for and which we all want, more likely, so that is fortunate.

  • The wheels are falling off the Brexit clown car. I strongly believe that May will eventually repeal Brexit when business threatens to dry up funding the Tories.

  • David Evans 9th Jul '18 - 10:01am

    The key question this all raises is ‘Are we fully prepared for the battle ahead?’ Personally, I believe that the Lib Dems have been the only party with a clear view on the problem, but we have not been even mediocre at putting it over to the public so far. The simple fact is that membership of the EU has been very good for the UK, but the benefits have not been shared out at all equally.

    We have to put forward a message that makes it clear we will do something for all those people and communities who have steadily been left behind over the last two or three decades. And lets be clear, this means that the well off in SW London and leafy dormitory areas outside our major cities will have to be prepared to contribute more.

    Whether we have the skills, willingness and resources to do it or whether people will listen to us is a problem our leaders now have to face up to, and find a way to overcome the problems we created for ourselves over the last eight years.

    The alternative is that Jeremy Corbyn portrays himself as the man riding to the rescue and we get sidelined once again, or just possibly, the rise of UKIP Mark 2. Both of these would be a disaster for this country and for Liberal Democracy.

  • John Barrett 9th Jul '18 - 10:02am

    David Davis was faced with an impossible task, and it is no surprise that in the end he has decided to walk away from it. I am equally surprised that Theresa May does not feel exactly the same and that there will come a time in the not too distant future when she decides to follow him. I doubt any other politician, of any party, faced with the referendum result could honestly say that they could have done any better.

    However, the possibility of another referendum, which the party is calling for, regardless of the question, is unlikely to resolve the situation the country is now in. Any party calling for another referendum must be able to say what they will do if the result is exactly the same again.

    While many blame David Cameron for offering us a referendum in the first place, he was not on his own and many prominent Lib-Dems were happy at various time to support that call. Some, even before Cameron called for an In/Out referendum.

    Sadly, we are now in a position where all opposition parties and a significant section of the Conservative party will be happy if the government cannot come up with a good deal in the current negotiations. What happens then?

    I can only assume that most parties would like to see the Prime Minister go and a General Election called, in order start over again. If this is the case, I fear that the problems currently faced by the present Government will pale into insignificance compared to what any future Government will have to deal with.

    Interesting times to be watching from the side-lines.

  • Bless poor David didn’t get “His own personal Brexit and had to make a strategic withdrawal. Reality is not kind to Brexiteers already countless “Personal Brexits” have been shredded and more will be shredded as time goes by. There is no good Brexit and the fate of the Brexiteers is to become “The Cattle Killing Cult” of the 21st century or in simpler terms “How stupid where they”.

  • Yeovil Yokel 9th Jul '18 - 10:37am

    Time for another Welsh hillwalking holiday, eh Theresa?

    Meanwhile a British citizen has been murdered in Amesbury, probably by an agent of the Russian state – are we going to see yet another feeble response by HMG?

  • Jonathan Linin 9th Jul '18 - 10:50am

    So we are set to leave the EU in 2019 and currently we don’t even have a negotiating position. We are not even at the start line for negotiations. The main opposition party doesn’t even know where the start line is.
    The trouble is we are being buried by personal ambition, I suspect a lot of senior politicians, Tory and Labour don’t really care if they think they can get to the top of the greasy pole. Boris, for example could have been leave or remain and chose purely to further his chances of being leader, his extreme position now is to position himself as an alternative to May. The drivel coming out of the Labour party is about the Tories making a mess of the negotiations (or was it making a mess of buses), not that the negotiating position is wrong. Watching Starmer standing on his head trying to oppose what they don’t oppose is almost embarrassing. My position now is that of Private Frazer “we’re all doomed”.

  • “I think David Davis has been principled here.”
    “David Davis seems to me to have acted with integrity.”

    Err he did neither of these things, the opportunity to have acted according to his principles and with integrity was on Friday and walk out of Chequers. The fact he didn’t show that he has neither, and speaks volumes about his motives.

  • Innocent Bystander 9th Jul '18 - 11:15am

    If we have an election what do the thinkers, hereabouts, predict how a Cornyn govt would act?

  • Graham Martin-Royle 9th Jul '18 - 11:25am

    If this man had any integrity he would have walked on Friday, not waited until his ministerial car had taken him home.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Jul '18 - 11:31am

    Keep up with the electronic media or risk being out of date and time.

  • Be fair gents it was a long yomp to the train station, trains are unreliable, he’s getting on a bit and it has been a long time since he was in the SAS, so he needed his car to get home. Once home he could safely find his integrity 😉

  • @innocent bystander. If there is an election, a minority Corbyn Govt is one of the more likely outcomes, in which case the question becomes, how do we act ? Anyone for coalition ?

  • He looked out of his depth mainly because the idea of negotiations was always a bit of a none starter. The EU is a set of rigid rules that you either accept or refuse to adopt. Soft Brexit is the easiest option and a decent compromise given that the vote was fairly close. Really, Davis and his team wasted two years piddling about.

  • William Fowler 9th Jul '18 - 3:07pm

    Here comes Trump, er sorry, Boris, just resigned so leadership challenge and then call EU’s bluff so probably the hardest of Brexit rather than softest.

  • David Becket 9th Jul '18 - 3:17pm

    Boris gone, Government in a shambles

    Where is the leadership from this party?
    NOWHERE
    The top story on our website is STILL the Lewisham By Election.
    How introverted and out of date can you get?
    Labour is not much better.

    When is the leadership of this party going to wake up?

  • @Glenn
    You are absolutely right. The EU is not and never has been in a position to negotiate. Any competent negotiator would have realised this as of day one.
    The sensible members of the government has looked into the abyss, realised that project fear is actually project reality and they would be destroyed along with the country if they went there. This government has watched the clock get to the eleventh hour before finally admitting it. Dominic Raab is on a hiding to nothing. It’s about time that our politicians were honest with us. We come out, no agreement and waste a generation whilst the economy adjusts, or we stay in. The only way out of this mess is to go back to the people with the truth. Even then it wont be over. We will live with the political backlash of this for generations. A plague on all their houses.

  • Theresa May is addressing the Commons and says “The cabinet agreed to propose a new model”….Well, as of today, several don’t seem to agree.

    As for the Tory cheers when she stood up to speak; a band playing, “Abide With Me” would be more appropriate

  • It would appear Mr Rabb has some interesting views.

    Among regulations Mr Raab said should scrapped are the EU’s Working Time Regulations, which restrict the number of hours an employee can be forced to work to 48 hours a week or 13 hours a day. They also guarantee at least one day off a week, a minimum of four weeks’ paid annual leave a year.

    Criticising the regulations, Mr Raab wrote: “By limiting flexibility and adding to employers’ costs, the regulations impede job creation.”

    He added: “Britain should secure a total opt-out from the Working Time Directive and scrap the UK Regulations, ensuring that this costly, anti-jobs legislation cannot cause further damage to the economy.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/dominic-raab-brexit-eu-workers-rights-uk-talks-brexit-secretary-a8438706.html

    Still I’m sure the brave Brexiteers especially the Lexiteers where well aware of the people they where handing the implementation of Brexit too. You where, where you not?

  • William Fowler 9th Jul '18 - 4:09pm

    Mrs May has the same look right now in parliament that she had when her social care policy fell apart at the last election.

  • P.J
    I think a “soft Brexit” would work out fine. It suits Norway well enough . Personally, I do not support the EU as a project and think keeping political ties to is a bad idea, but there are a lot of complicated trade issues involved, hence I reluctantly support “soft Brexit”. You get this argument that if you’re not a rule maker, then you’re a rule taker. However, life outside of the EU offers more flexibility than some pro-EU people insist and more importantly kills the idea that the future means ever closer union. To me leaving the EU was never really about economics. It was always about politics. I think signing Maastricht was a destructive, for domestic democracy, move , but it’s one that has created some unfortunate legal realities.

  • Glenn,
    Norway comes with freedom of movement and freedom of movement destroys so many “Personal Brexits” .

  • Frankie
    You don’t get your own personal EU either. Hence, the guiding political principles are losing traction to domestic political concerns in various member states and for that matter hence Brexit in the first place.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Jul '18 - 7:02pm

    Lay off the England cricket team. Australia have provided strong competition over the years, but this year England WON a five match series FIVE – NIL, unprecedented.
    This was followed by one 20-20 match WON by England. Attendances were high.
    India have arrived. They love cricket as their number one sport. There will be a full series of 20-20 games, 50 over games and test matches. early days yet.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Jul '18 - 7:12pm

    Nonconformistradical
    Treason never prospers, for if it prospers none dare call it treason.

  • An exit from Brexit is one possible road from here but the other is prominent Brextremists forcing a coup and taking us to an even harder Brexit. Any change at the top is a dangerous game of could what’s next be worse at the moment.

    Btw, no such thing as an English cricket team, the team you’re thinking of represents England and Wales.

  • I’d chuck their letters in the bin if I was May. They’re both useless. People forget Johnson cut back police as London Mayor the results of which have led to an increase in knife crime and is now likening the UK to a colony, how disrespectful to all the other independent nations within in the EU. David Davis always very smug and ineffectual just like all that leave lot. Anna Soubry should replace him.

  • Katharine Pindar 9th Jul '18 - 9:29pm

    Absolutely, David, it was a humiliation for Britain to have Johnson as foreign secretary. His delayed resignation only showed again how lacking in principle he is. Mrs May can probably stay on, reckon pundits on Channel Four News this evening. But if the EU continues to insist the Four Freedoms are indivisible, her new plan can’t work and another Referendum may possibly seem the only way forward.

    If we get a delay in implementing Article 50 as Tom Brake wants, well and good, more time to organise the Referendum, maybe that’s one concession the EU could make? (If it’s legally possible.) What I dread is the parties concentrating on the Implementation period to avoid making the necessary decisions about life after Brexit, if it is to be.

  • Indeed Glenn I don’t get my own personal EU but then unlike many Brexiteers I never expect too. The problem is the world isn’t a black and white place and sometimes you have too settle for a dirty grey. While I conceed that the EU needs reform up until the point when you and your fellow Brexiteers blew more than the doors off it wasn’t the most important issue. Before Brexit the state of the NHS, local services and education where the important issues to me, but after you opened Pandoras box Brexit consumes all. So for the past two plus years we have seen Brexit paralyise the political process and nothing else gets fixed, that I’m afraid is the responsibility of the brave Brexiteers, you should never have attempted to blow of the doors as part of a merry jape.

  • Little Jackie Paper 9th Jul '18 - 10:11pm

    William Fowler – ‘Mrs May has the same look right now in parliament that she had when her social care policy fell apart at the last election.’

    Odd thing is that she probably was more right than she was wrong on social care and she’s more right than wrong on the EU now.

  • Frankie.
    I don’t really want to get into this worth you.
    As I said I simply do not see the EU as a worthwhile political entity . I don’t believe in the oxymoron of “pooled sovereignty”, I don’t think we need an EU parliament and I’m not convinced that it has been keeping the piece since the end of WWII as it was only formed in 1993. I think the whole thing is a colossal anti-nation state mistake, but realistically we’re lumbered with dealing with it. Whether it reforms is neither here nor there.
    As for the social problem stuff,. It was all going on while we were in the EU anyway and a good proportion of the ministers responsible for it were campaigning for Remain. So I’m not convinced Brexit is the great distraction you claim it to be. Plus had Brexit not happened you’d probably be looking at George Osborne as PM with many of the same ministers as May’s current cabinet. So nothing much would have changed. This is about the long haul , not the next few years.

  • Glenn,
    In the long term we are all dead, and given the speed Brexit is going we may all be dead by the time it finishes. The one plus point of Brexit is it has rather nailed the myth of UK poltical exceptionalism, no longer can we look down on other poltical systems; not after the clusterfeck of Brexit. As to Brexit being the longhaul, what happened to the easiest negotiations in history, they need us more than we need them? This longhaul has only just started to replace those phrases, I wonder why, did reality start to ravage the brave Brexiteers harries?

  • Frankie,
    You might be hit by a bus so always wear clean underpants. Really everything goes on long after we’re all dead.

  • William Fowler 10th Jul '18 - 6:57am

    If we were in a proper democracy there would be a way to vote for a savage cut in politicians (and top civil servants) pay and pensions when they mess things up, may be the LibDems should add that to their manifesto – it would be very popular with the electorate.

  • Re: Resignation Letters

    I was intrigued by Boris’s observation with respect to having to wait for EU legislation on lorry cab design. A little digging on the Internet shows that once again Boris has totally misunderstood/misrepresented facts and reality, the issue was more to do with the UK government “sitting on its hands” and failing to act in the interests of public safety…

    But whilst this, a disregard for reality, is to be expected from Boris, what is perhaps more worrying is Theresa’s reply, where she clearly implies that the £20 billion increase in the NHS budget will be wholly funded out of savings arising from EU contributions and not as previously announced mostly out of increases in taxation.

    Aside: For some reason they haven’t included correctly and so the only way I’ve found to read them here has been to magnify the page by 300%.
    Both Boris’s letter and Thersa’s reply can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44772804

  • William Fowler 10th Jul '18 - 2:59pm

    “But whilst this, a disregard for reality, is to be expected from Boris, what is perhaps more worrying is Theresa’s reply, where she clearly implies that the £20 billion increase in the NHS budget will be wholly funded out of savings arising from EU contributions and not as previously announced mostly out of increases in taxation.”
    Still a redline not to pay any new money to EU for access to markets, the only alternative to the plan is hard brexit, so an extra 40bn saved. Unsaid but implied is that any loss in tax revenues will be balanced by cuts in spending outside ring-fenced areas such as NHS. Mrs May will not like that as less govn money means less govn power but she is a Christian so expect she spends her Sundays praying for divine intervention.

  • Alex Macfie 10th Jul '18 - 7:15pm

    David Evans:

    “The alternative is that Jeremy Corbyn portrays himself as the man riding to the rescue and we get sidelined once again,”

    I think we’ve reached Peak Corbyn, and the cult is slowly waning. The “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” chant at the March for Europe shows this, as did Labour’s lacklustre performance (following much hubristic talk of them taking the Tory “crown jewels” in London) in the last local elections. Labour can’t even get a consistent lead in the opinion polls now against this joke of a Tory government.

    However, we are likely to be subjected to one of the biggest third-party squeeze attempts from both sides in the next general election. Tories will be saying “Vote Lib Dem, get Corbyn,” while Momentum will be saying “Vote Lib Dem, get Tory.” And expect Labour to park their tanks in our Tory-facing seats, since Momentum want Tories to win against us. Our message has to be “Vote Lib Dem, get Lib Dem,” and no coalition or any other sort of agreement with either main party after the election under their present leaders.

    ” or just possibly, the rise of UKIP Mark 2.”

    This is certainly a possibility (I read today that Farage is considering a comeback). But it would most likely help us, since any UKIP revival will come from people who are unlikely to consider voting for us.

  • Following on from the above. I’ve just heard President Trump saying that he’s going to find Britain in turmoil and what a good, supportive friend Boris Johnson has been to him!
    I do hope that the President isn’t trying to bring pressure to bear or, perish the thought, interfere in our political processes.

  • have just signed call for second referendum and also read opinion poll which states little movement in support for either position re. Brexit. Our party talks vaguely about reforming Europe but is never specific. We should make firm proposals re. freedom of movement and subsidiarity for example. This would help to convert some Brexiteers to our position and also get support from other European countries which are resisting
    further European integration

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