As it happenedended1531172663

As it happened: Jeremy Hunt replaces Boris Johnson as foreign secretary following shock departure

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Ashley Cowburn,Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 09 July 2018 22:44
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David Davis quits as Brexit Secretary

Boris Johnson has been replaced as foreign secretary by Jeremy Hunt following the former London mayor's shock resignation from the cabinet over Theresa May's Brexit strategy.

The long-serving health secretary was summoned to Downing Street at the end of a dramatic 24 hours, which saw the resignations of Mr Johnson and Brexit secretary David Davis - both prominent Eurosceptics - and junior Brexit minister Steve Baker.

Matt Hancock has been appointed as the new health secretary, while former attorney general Jeremy Wright has replaced Mr Hancock at the department for digital, culture, media and sport.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "This afternoon, the prime minister accepted the resignation of Boris Johnson as foreign secretary.

See below for live updates

"His replacement will be announced shortly. The prime minister thanks Boris for his work.”

It comes after David Davis resigned as the Brexit secretary after a major row with the prime minister over plans for the future UK-EU relationship.

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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:37
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:37
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David Davis' resignation letter in full

Dear Prime Minister,   

As you know there have been a significant number of occasions in the last year or so on which I have disagreed with the Number 10 policy line, ranging from accepting  the Commission’s sequencing of negotiations through to the language on Northern Ireland in the December Joint Report. 

At each stage I have accepted collective responsibility because it is part of my task to find workable compromises, and because I considered it was still possible to deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market.   

I am afraid that I think the current trend of policy and tactics is making that look less and less likely.  Whether it is the progressive dilution of what I thought was a firm Chequers agreement in February on right to diverge, or the unnecessary delays of the start of the White Paper, or the presentation of a backstop proposal that omitted the strict conditions that I requested and believed that we had agreed, the general direction of policy will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one.   

The Cabinet decision on Friday crystallised this problem. In my view the inevitable consequence of the proposed policies will be to make the supposed control by Parliament illusory rather than real.  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.  

I am also unpersuaded that our negotiating approach will not just lead to further demands for concessions.   Of course this is a complex area of judgement and it is possible that you are right and I am wrong.  However, even in that event it seems to me that the national interest requires a Secretary of State in my Department that is an enthusiastic believer in your approach, and not merely a reluctant conscript.  While I have been grateful to you for the opportunity to serve, it is with great regret that I tender my resignation from the Cabinet with immediate effect. 

  Yours ever, David Davis

Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:40
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:43
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Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Davis denied weakening the prime minster, saying:  "It is one day, she has got to have a Brexit Secretary who will deliver on her strategy.

"That is not weakening, that is actually enhancing the effectiveness of the strategy."

He said he wanted to speak to Ms May "face to face" on Sunday night but had spoken to her by telephone as she was at her home in Sonning, Berkshire.

He added: "I like Theresa May, I think she is a good PM. We have a difference over this strategy."

He said other cabinet members had asked for changes to be made to the Brexit policy on Friday, but none had been made.

He admitted he had "lost the argument in cabinet", adding: "In my view, this policy has got a number of weaknesses.

"I would be front and centre in delivering this policy, explaining it to the House, persuading the House it is right, and then going out and delivering it with the EU.

"Frankly, just as it was known what the policy was, it was also known I had concerns about it.

"It would not have been a plausible thing to do and I wouldn't have done a good job at it."

Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:45
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:49
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 08:58
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 09:10
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Speaking on LBC Radio just now, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said:  "I don't think a no-confidence vote is immediately in the offing.

"I think what the prime minister needs to do is give up on the Chequers proposals which, David Davis has pointed out in his resignation letter, don't actually deliver Brexit."

He says he will "congratulate" Davis for resigning and shows what the PM is offering "isn't really 

He says he has not personally sent a letter of no confidence in the PM to the 1922 Committee. 

Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 09:17
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Ashley Cowburn9 July 2018 09:18

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