The new Brexit Secretary appointed early on Monday is Dominic Raab; politically, Brussels should not expect a major disruption, other than a difference in style.
David Davis is replaced by a convinced Euroskeptic and, until recently, housing minister. The 44-year old Raab campaigned for Leave in 2016 and has been a prominent Conservative pundit, defending the cause of Brexit against critics right and left of the political spectrum.
Raab has promised to negotiate with “flexibility and pragmatism,” but has expressed confidence that the UK need not fear a no-deal scenario.
Raab is a Davis protégé and worked as his Chief of Staff in 2007. They share not only ideas but also campaigns, values, networks and connections.
Davis left the Brexit Secretary post warning Theresa May that it was giving “too much,” weakening the UK’s negotiating position. He has given his vote of confidence to his successor.
Davis is a London-born SAS reservist from a working-class background who went on to study science; as a Thatcherite hardliner he made a career in defending civil liberties and has been an MP since 1987. Ironically, he served as John Major’s Europe Minister and lost a bid to lead the Conservatives to David Cameron.
Raab is a more conventional upper-class politician, who first became a minister in a Brexit cabinet in 2017, largely with Davis’ backing. From international law consulting – with a record in human rights – he jumped into politics in 2010, In Surrey’s safe Conservative seat. So far, he has been in the shadow of the man he is replacing; the question is whether he will be anything more than what Brussels already knows and expects.