Dominic Raab will replace David Davis as the Brexit Secretary, after the latter resigned over the shape of the Brexit deal.
The swift appointment reflects an attempt by No 10 to regain control of the Tories after a 48-hour consensus on the policy agreed at Friday’s Chequers cabinet meeting disintegrated with Davis’s resignation.
Raab, a Brexiteer, famously received a slap down from the now-Prime Minister in 2011 in her role as minister for women and equalities after he labelled feminists “obnoxious bigots”. In the 2016 Tory leadership election, he backed Boris Johnson, before switching to Michael Gove.
In a 2016 interview, Raab said he was offered a position in the cabinet by the newly elected Theresa May, but turned it down because he wanted “a role that I could really get my teeth into”, adding that he had a young family so “there was no way I would accept a role which involved such a huge amount of long haul travel”.
However, he accepted a post in the justice department after the disastrous 2017 snap election, and was appointed housing minister in January 2018. He has remained loyal to the party whip under May, a reassuring appointment for those who advocate collective responsibility.
For those who believe Brexit is a chance for the Tories to connect with working-class British voters, though, Raab may be a questionable choice. While his predecessor emphasised the need to protect workers’ rights after Brexit, Raab has depicted such rights as red tape. A book he co-authored in 2012, Britannia Unchained, characterised British workers as idle and called for less regulation and lower taxation. In 2017, he was jeered for describing foodbank users as people with cashflow problems.