Leave campaigners and former Secretary of State for Brexit David Davis has branded Theresa May’s Chequers blueprint for an ultra-soft Brexit “almost worse than being in” the European Union.
Speaking to BBC anchor Andrew Marr on his Sunday morning show, the Tory MP confirmed he would vote against a Brexit deal with Chequers as its basis, saying “it would be rather odd for me to resign [from Government] over something and then vote for it [in Parliament]”.
“In my view, the Chequers proposal — it’s not a deal, we shouldn’t call it the Chequers deal, it’s the Chequers proposal — is actually almost worse than being in,” he stressed — reiterating his resignation warning that the Prime Minister’s concessions to the EU would simply open the door to Brussels demanding even more.
“We will be under the rule of the European Union with respect to all of our manufactured goods and agri-foods — that’s a really serious concession, what about ‘take back control’?” he asked, referring to the Vote Leave campaign’s main slogan during the 2016 referendum.
“[Chequers] actually leaves us in a position where they dictate our future rules without us having a say at all, so it’s a worse deal.”
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) September 2, 2018
In reference to his own time in the Cabinet, Davis told Marr: “I was always the Brexit Secretary, [if] the question is whether I controlled events… that’s another matter.”
He confirmed that Theresa May, who campaigned for Britain to Remain in the European Union during the EU referendum had lead the negotiations — “quite properly”, given her role as Prime Minister — and that he had played more of a supporting role.
He was perhaps less frank about the treatment of his Department of Exiting the European Union (DExEU) than junior Brexit minister Steve Baker, who resigned with him.
Baker branded the entire department a “Potemkin structure”, revealing that the concession-laden Chequers blueprint which the Prime Minister sprung on her Cabinet was put together behind DExEU’s back while Davis’s team had been working on a more robust set of proposals.
“An establishment elite who never accepted the fundamental right of the public to choose democratically their institutions, are working towards overturning [the referendum],” he accused.
“This is not the way to leave the EU. We’ve ended up in a posture of supplication on our knees as we negotiate, and it’s pathetic.”