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Monday 9 July 2018

Late last night, David Davis resigned as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union. Davis is the first bona fide Brexiteer to resign over the Chequers catastrophe of a negotiating position agreed by the Cabinet on Friday.

He was quickly followed by his fellow Leavers in DExEU, Steve Baker and Suella Braverman.

“As I said at Cabinet, the “common rule book” policy hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU and is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense,” wrote Davis in a letter to Theresa May, adding:

“I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions.”

He is correct on both counts, but his conciliatory tone, is disappointing. Speaking on the Today programme this morning Davis said Mrs May was a “good prime minister”. Rather than mounting pressure on the PM, he deflected attention onto himself, it was “not tenable” for him to help implement May’s disastrous plan.

“The best person to do this is someone who really believes in it, not me.”

Questioned on the security of May’s position as party leader, the former contender to David Cameron replied “of course” she would survive.

One might have hoped that Davis’s departure was part of a coordinated attack being orchestrated by Boris Johnson who is yet to go on the record, although he is reported as comparing May’s accomplishment with “polishing a turd”. Instead however, it appears Davis is simply reluctant to defend an abomination of a negotiating pitch. Steve Baker is in a similar position. The junior Brexit minister who was supposed to be in charge of negligible no-deal preparations will also return to the backbenches. Braverman’s resignation remains unconfirmed.