Dominic Raab has this morning been appointed as David Davis’s successor as Brexit Secretary. Raab moves from his role as minister of state for Housing to his first Cabinet post as Secretary of State for Exiting the EU.
Well-liked among colleagues, Raab is someone who is seen to have been consistently overlooked for promotion. He was recently asked in a television interview, why he hadn’t been promoted given that he was so consistently loyal in defending the government’s position. He is also a savvy hire by No 10 thanks to the fact Raab is a Davis ally and a dedicated Leaver. It will help to send the signal that this is still a Brexit Brexiteers can get behind. Also getting a Brexiteer to take on this job shows that the revolt against the Chequers deal is, still, relatively limited.
But this opportunity could still be something of a poisoned chalice. The European Ressearch Group – made up of Brexiteer backbenchers – have already concluded Theresa May’s Brexit blueprint is the worst of both worlds. David Davis’s departure only solidifies that view. No 10 will hope that Raab’s Brexiteer credentials – he vociferously campaigned for Leave – will calm nerves within the party.
And how will Raab take to the job? Davis was an ardent Brexiteer yet was repeatedly sidelined. Raab will need to find a way to have his voice heard – and yo continue with the no deal planning which was agreed at Chequers.
For now though, No 10 will just be relieved that they have managed to stem the resignations. Despite previous reports, Suella Braverman is staying put and now another Brexiteer has moved to DexEU.