David Davis has resigned as minister for exiting the European Union, as the Tory civil war paralysing the government and turning the Brexit negotiations into a car crash exploded into the open.
Responding to Davis’ resignation, which came just two days after a crunch cabinet meeting meant to bring unity to the Tory Brexit position, Unite said the government “continues to play Russian roulette with the jobs and prospects of the people of this country”.
Brexiteer Davis resigned yesterday (July 9) evening, saying that he would not be able to support Theresa May’s plans for an EU exit that is softer than the cliff-edge version many Tory MPs are pushing for.
His decision, swiftly followed by junior Brexit minister Steve Baker, has plunged the crisis hit government into further chaos at a time when there is an increasingly small window to complete crucial talks over Britain’s future relationship with the EU.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “This government continues to play Russian roulette with the jobs and prospects of the people of this country.
“On the single most important issue facing this country since the second world war, Brexit, the Conservatives fight among themselves while employers and workers watch on in horror.
“Time and again they have shown that they are incapable of putting the interests of the people first in order to chart a course to protect jobs and investment.”
Hours after Davis quit, Number 10 announced that former housing minister Dominic Raab would take over as Brexit minister.
Commenting on Raab’s appointment, McCluskey said: “Appointing Dominic Raab as Brexit secretary is a further kick in the teeth for working people.
“This is the man who described the need to protect workers’ rights after Brexit as red tape and described foodbank users as having cashflow problems. Could Theresa May get it any more wrong?”
Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer said Raab’s appointment to the Brexit department “means nothing”.
Starmer said: “The deep division at the heart of the Conservative Party has broken out in public and plunged this government into crisis.
“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.”