Who is David Davis, why did the Brexit Secretary resign and could he run for PM?

The Haltemprice and Howden MP joined the Cabinet after Theresa May's snap election and he was to help May lead Britain into a post-Brexit future. But what happened and why did he quit?

Who is David Davis?

Davis, 70, was born in York to a single mother and was initially brought up by his grandparents.

When his mother remarried the family moved to South London, living in a deprived part of Wandsworth before moving to a council estate in Tooting.

He completed a BSc in computer science at Warwick University before studying at London Business School and Harvard.

Aged 38, he was first elected to parliament in 1987 as MP for Boothferry – which later became his current constituency Haltemprice and Howden.

In 1992, he was a government whip who worked on pushing through the Maastricht treaty, which led to the euro and greater integration of the European Union.

He twice stood for Conservative party leader in 2001 and 2005 but was beaten to the post by Iain Duncan Smith then David Cameron.

Davis triggered a by-election in 2008 following a row over civil liberties after new terror laws were passed allowing suspects to be detained without charge for 42 days.

Despite getting re-elected he was sidelined for nearly a decade on the backbenches before returning to the cabinet in 2016 after Theresa May took office.

Davis married Doreen Davis in 1973, and they live together in a farmhouse in rural Yorkshire.

They have three grown-up children and five grandchildren.

Does David Davis want to become Prime Minister and who is supporting him?

Davis previously played down the chances of a leadership challenge during Brexit negotiations, praising a "very good Prime Minister".

But since he quit as Brexit secretary he seems to be carving his own path as a future leader with a distinct vision of how to leave the EU.

Davis today fired the starting gun on the race to succeed Theresa May – hinting he will run to be PM.

The ex-Brexit Secretary suggested he is the best candidate to lead the country as he declared himself "the last of the great romantic radicals".

Mr Davis is the first candidate to publicly express an interest in taking over since Mrs May announced she'll quit in time for the next election.

He has previously run for the Tory leadership twice – losing to Iain Duncan Smith in 2001 and David Cameron in 2005.

In an interview in the April issue of Tatler, Mr Davis said he has the right qualifications to take over from Mrs May.

He said: "If this were an application for a job as a chief executive, I would probably win it. But it isn’t. And that isn’t the way the decision is done."

Mr Davis added that he was the PM's "favourite minister" before he resigned over Brexit last year.

Why did he resign as Brexit Secretary?

David Davis announced his resignation minutes before midnight on July 8, 2018, with a devastating letter warning Mrs May her proposals would leave the UK in "a weak negotiating position" with Brussels.

He said there had been a "significant number of occasions in the last year or so on which I have disagreed with the Number 10 policy line".

He added that he had previously decided to toe the line and remain in the Cabinet "because I considered it was still possible to deliver on the mandate of the referendum, and on our manifesto commitment to leave the Customs Union and the Single Market".

But in a damning verdict on the PM's approach, he wrote: "I am afraid that I think the current trend of policy and tactics is making that look less and less likely."

In her reply, Mrs May told him: "I do not agree with your characterisation of the policy we agreed on at Cabinet on Friday."

She said: "I am sorry that you have chosen to leave the Government when we have already made so much progress towards delivering a smooth and successful Brexit and when we are only eight months from the date set in law when the United Kingdom will leave the European Union."

What are David Davis' views and has he ever faced controversy?

Davis has been outspoken on a number of issues.

In 2003 he voiced his support of the death penalty for people convicted of murder "where there is clear evidence and no doubt" surrounding the offender's guilt.

Five years later he distanced himself from the comments and said he did not want to restore the death penalty, but in a personal capacity agrees with the principal.

In 2005, he was bizarrely forced to deny he was behind a stunt involving two blonde women with large breasts wearing "It's DD for me" T-shirts during his party leadership bid.

But he did add that he felt people had a "sense of humour failure" over the issue.

Earlier this year, he was slammed over leaked texts in which he said he would not hug Labour MP Diane Abbott because he is "not blind".

He apologised for any offence caused by the messages.

How did he find himself in charge of Brexit and what did he say about it?

Davis was a high-profile Leave supporter and campaigner in the run-up to the EU referendum.

He was asked to rejoin the cabinet as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

Downing Street sources say he won the trust of Mrs May and was seen as a safer pair of hands than other outspoken Leavers such as Boris Johnson and Liam Fox.

He appears to have taken care not to talk out of line or become embroiled in public rows with colleagues over how Brexit will unfold.

Laying out his Brexit plans, Mr Davis claimed the economy would feel the benefits even before Britain's departure because of increased foreign investment.

He said: "Brexit will deliver the circumstances that allow us to pursue an unfettered high growth strategy."

Mr Davis has urged business chiefs to stay with Britain following fears some companies may be tempted to move staff or manufacturing to other European countries.

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