The Latest: UK says Brexit plan on track despite resignation
The Latest on Brexit (all times local):
Continue Reading Below
British Prime Minister Theresa May's office insists the government's plans for leaving the European Union are on track despite the resignation of the top official in the Brexit department.
David Davis resigned as Brexit secretary late Sunday, saying he couldn't support proposals to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU.
Davis was replaced Monday with Dominic Raab, a lawmaker who strongly supports Britain's EU exit.
Davis's resignation shattered a fragile peace in May's government, which is split between supporters of "hard" and "soft" Brexit. Britain is due to leave the EU in March.
May's official spokesman, James Slack, says "we need to move forward at pace in these negotiations, and that's what we are going to do."
He says "there is now a new secretary of state and we look forward to moving on."
The European Union says it will push on with Brexit talks despite the resignation of Britain's chief negotiator, and is ready to work with his replacement.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas says Monday that "we will continue to negotiate in good will, bona fide, with Prime Minister Theresa May and the UK government negotiators in order to reach a deal."
Asked whether the appointment of Dominic Raab would affect the negotiations, Schinas said it mattered for Britain but not necessarily the EU: "What matters for us is the negotiating framework that our 27 member states have set for us."
He said EU negotiators stand ready to work through the summer if needed to reach an agreement. Britain officially leaves the EU at midnight on March 29 next year.
The German government says it's confident the British government can continue to act on Brexit despite the resignation of the minister tasked with the job of negotiating with the European Union.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul said Monday that while Germany doesn't generally comment on foreign Cabinet reshuffles, "we have no doubt the British side remains capable of acting" on Brexit.
Britain's Brexit minister, David Davis, quit late Sunday, two days after Prime Minister Theresa May announced she had united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for a divorce deal with the EU.
Separately, German government spokeswoman Martina Fietz downplayed talk of discord on Brexit between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her top security official. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer had warned last week of security risks when Britain leaves the EU.
Britain's government has named former Housing Minister Dominic Raab to take up the post of senior official in charge of negotiating the country's exit from the European Union, after his predecessor resigned.
Prime Minister Theresa May's office announced the appointment in a Monday statement. Raab, a Brexit supporter, follows David Davis, who had accused May of undermining Brexit with her plan to keep close trade ties with the bloc.
Davis quit just two days after May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for a divorce deal with the EU.
The European Parliament's chief Brexit official is urging Britain to look beyond the departure of its chief negotiator and move forward quickly to clinch a deal with the EU.
Guy Verhofstadt said that "it is in the interest of the both that we move the negotiations forward."
Verhofstadt hopes "the UK unites around a position to conclude a broad Association Agreement with the EU."
In a blow to the British government, Davis quit late Sunday, saying he could not support Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for close trade and regulatory ties with the EU after Brexit next year.
His resignation came just two days after May announced she had finally united her quarrelsome government behind a plan for a divorce deal with the EU.
Former Brexit Secretary David Davis says he won't seek to challenge Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership after resigning from her Cabinet, but that he will pressure her to toughen her position on Britain's departure from the European Union.
Davis says he resigned because he didn't feel he best suited to carry the divorce deal forward, telling the BBC Monday that he doesn't want his resignation to become a rallying cry for May's ouster. He says "I like Theresa May, I think she's a good prime minister."
But he says they had a difference of strategy and hoped the decision would send a signal to the EU not to push Britain any further in Brexit negotiations.
Davis's late-night resignation undermined May's already fragile government, which has lost several ministers this year.
Source: Read Full Article