A veteran politician (first elected in 1987), and a former Tory leadership challenger, David Davis is strongly Eurosceptic and on the right of the Conservative Party, while staunchly progressive on issues such as civil liberty. After having served as Major’s Europe Minister, Davis took the frontbench post of Shadow Home Secretary in 2003. In 2008 he resigned his Haltemprice and Howden seat and won the by-election, though he rejected a job in the coalition government in 2010 to continue his fight for civil liberties, a time during which he encountered then Home Secretary Theresa May several times. He then made his comeback in Theresa May’s Cabinet as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, a then-newly created position immediately dubbed ‘Brexit Secretary.’ His appointment was an overture by Theresa May to the Leave camp following the referendum campaign.
Earlier this year, Davis elaborated on his views on what relationship the UK would have if it left the European Union. Writing for the Daily Telegraph, he rejected the idea that the UK would have to adopt a Norwegian or Swiss model, noting that the country would negotiate a bespoke deal to suit its circumstances, adding that this is what countries like Norway and Switzerland had done. In an article for ConservativeHome, he emphasised the need for an export-led growth strategy and expressed his belief that Brexit would enable the UK to “take back control of trade,” as striking free trade deals would be less rigid without the need to find a compromise among 28 states. In the same article, he favoured the UK taking its time to trigger Article 50 in order to develop its negotiating strategy and consult stakeholders.
Davis has built a reputation as a highly competent political operator and will certainly be a hard negotiator in the process of the UK’s disentanglement from the EU.
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