Ministers Boris John and David Davis have quit the cabinet over Brexit, as the Tory civil war paralysing the government and turning the EU negotiations into a car crash exploded into the open.
Responding to the resignations, 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 quit as Brexit secretary yesterday (July 8) 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.
Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and junior minister Steve Baker swiftly followed in Davis’ footsteps, plunging 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?”
Tory MPs expect more high profile resignations to follow in the wake of Davis and Johnson, as the Conservative Party continues to tear itself apart over the issue of leaving the EU.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, “With a prime minister incapable of holding her ministerial team together and with such instability in government it’s impossible to see how EU leaders could take Theresa May seriously in the next round of negotiations.
“It’s time for her and her party to put country before party and go.”