Sussex MP’s have reacted to the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis over the Prime Minister’s latest Brexit strategy.
The two Conservative MPs have resigned from the Cabinet after Theresa May outlined her plan for leaving the EU at Chequers on Friday.
Mr Davis stood down as Brexit Secretary on Sunday night followed by Mr Johnson as Foreign Secretary on Monday (July 9).
Jeremy Hunt has taken over as Foreign Secretary, with Matt Hancock succeeding him as Health Secretary having served as Culture Secretary up until now.
Dominic Raab, who was Housing Minister, becomes the new Brexit Secretary.
Sussex MP’s have reacted to the news with the most notable move seeing Lewes MP Maria Caulfield step down as vice-chair for women of the Conservative Party in protest at the Chequers plan.
She told Mrs May she could not support the direction of travel in the Brexit negotiations and argued it did not ‘fully embrace the opportunities that Brexit can provide’.
But Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP, asked Mrs May in the Commons: “Despite the slings and arrows inevitably will she stick to her guns, to deliver a Brexit that’s in line with the interests of our people, of their prosperity and their security?”
But Crawley MP Henry Smith said he was concerned not to get assurances from Mrs May that she would rule out further concessions being made in the event EU negotiators reject her position.
Hove’s Labour MP Peter Kyle said: “They promised us the world yet when the moment came to show us in writing how they would deliver it, they ran away.
“David Davis and Boris Johnson lit the fuse but lacked the integrity to see the job through. I feel nothing but contempt for their actions, but now it falls to Parliament to pick up the pieces.
“Submitting Article 50 before the Government had a plan was an act of vandalism against our country. I’m calling for a People’s Vote so that our community can have its say on any deal that is struck. Voters must ultimately decide if the deal matches the promises made during the referendum.”
Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “It’s an utter tragedy that, at such a vital time as this, the country is being led by a bunch of selfish incompetents. None of them can be trusted. We need a vote of no confidence in this shambolic government *now*.”
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, added: “The Government that promised us strength and stability has descended into the coalition of chaos once again.
“May’s so-called ‘Chequers Agreement’ didn’t last a week, her chief Brexit negotiator has walked out on her, as has her Foreign Secretary. Her position is now surely untenable.
“It’s clear that Brexit is falling apart, as we in Brighton knew it would.
“Labour will test Brexit against the very promises the Brexiters made (no trade barriers, no border in Northern Ireland, full rights for EU migrants, environmental and work place protections, no new burdens for business and no extra costs) and if they can’t be met we will vote down this disaster of a government and vote down Tory Brexit.
“Maybe the Government should cut to the chase and just hand over to us - a Government-in-waiting who are ready and able to put the country first.”
But Amber Rudd, Hastings and Rye MP who resigned as Home Secretary earlier this year, said: “I strongly believe that the Prime Minister’s proposals agreed with the Cabinet at Chequers offers a realistic and practical plan for delivering on the Brexit referendum.
“It is disappointing that both David Davis and Boris Johnson have resigned. However, their replacements Jeremy Hunt and Dominic Raab will no doubt do an excellent job.”
Nick Herbert, Tory MP for Arundel and South Downs, added: “This plan is not giving in to Brussels - it is not what the EU has proposed, and will be difficult for them to accept. It is not a betrayal of the referendum result, and the UK will not become a colony. Such language is inflammatory nonsense.
“The plan is balanced and sensible. No other proposal has been made which enables us to implement the referendum decision while reconciling our key objectives on jobs, UK borders or the freedom to strike trade deals.
I think we should back it - and give our full support to the Prime Minister in the tough negotiations ahead.”
But Stephen Lloyd, Lib Dem MP for Eastbourne, said: “David Davis and Boris Johnson’s resignations mean the Prime Minister’s proposal of what many see as a more sensible, business and jobs-friendly Brexit could go one of two ways.
“It could either totally unravel in the face of right-wing Tory opposition who want to crash out of the EU irrespective of the damage it will do to our economy or Theresa May will face them and their allies down. It’s anybody’s guess which way it will go over the next few days.”
Conservative Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said he would judge a final deal on the basis of the UK no longer being a member state with no obligation to pay in automatically each year other than where it specifically chooses to buy-in to arrangements and can cancel at its discretion, no free movement of people and being able to choose exactly who are let in and who can contribute to the UK most, with no lesser rights for British citizens working and living in the EU, the ability to negotiate free trade deals with the 6.9 billion people of the rest of the world who live in ‘isolation’ from the EU, the UK Supreme Court being the court of last resort in the UK subject to legislation passed by the UK Parliament subject to the mandate of the British people. He said that does not mean that the UK cannot choose to nominate the European Court as an arbiter body where international deals require such a body, but crucially with its agreement and the ability to continue close cooperation on crime and security matters.
He added: “On the face of the short communique about the Chequers’ deal these principles appear largely safeguarded but the devil will be in the detail, and the detail will be key to gauging the EU response. Crucially the agreement also steps up the contingency preparations for an ultimate ‘no deal’ scenario, the only tool in the box that the EU ultimately acknowledges.”
Tory MP for Horsham Jeremy Quin said he was sorry to see Mr Davis leave the Government, adding: “The proposal is ground-breaking, it needs to be negotiated and agreed. None of this will be simple and a pragmatic outcome will not please everyone. It can however work, it answers the questions the EU has been posing and the ball is now in their court.
“It is not the only option available to us and ‘no deal’ preparations are also underway but there is a huge amount to be gained for both parties through a comprehensive settlement, alongside the UK honouring the referendum result and ensuring we leave the EU.”