European Union member states are now fearful Brexit negotiations could be knocked off course as a result of the second Cabinet resignation after Theresa May finally restored collective responsibility in her divided top team.
The Prime Minister held a Chequers away day for her Cabinet, which ended with a the publication of a 12-point plan which sets the foundations for the UK Government’s Brexit white paper on the country’s future relationship with the EU.
Mr Davis quite late on Sunday night, insisting the Prime Minister had “given away too much too easily” with the plans. Mr Johnson followed suit on Monday afternoon, making the former Foreign Secretary the second high-profile rebel in 24 hours.
While Brussels was unfazed by the resignation of the former Brexit Secretary after his role became significantly diminished after Olly Robbins left the Department for Exiting the EU to become the Prime Minister’s EU sherpa.
Mr Robbins is the man most familiar to the Brussels negotiation team with Mr Davis only spending four hours in the Belgian capital in 2019.
One EU diplomat said: “Don’t expect anything to come of David Davis’ resignation, it was very much Olly Robbins dealing with Michel Barnier’s Brexit task force.
“We don’t expect any substantial change to the Brexit negotiations and are very much waiting for the white paper.”
Another source said: “It doesn’t matter much to us here in Brussels, It predominantly matters in the UK.
“From my view, this is the Prime Minister taking control of DEXEU, saying ‘I’m number one’.”
However, the departure of Mr Johnson from the UK Cabinet has thrown a cloud of dust of the negotiations as Brussels waits on clarity.
After Mr Johnson’s announcement, a source close to the Brexit negotiations said: “ It doesn’t make it easier, especially in regards to the October deadline.”
Another source said EU negotiators would have to wait for the “dust to settle” before Brussels can decide whether October is once again a viable deadline to conclude withdrawal agreement negotiations.
Michel Barnier is still expecting to meet British negotiators for a another round of negotiations next week and open to speaking with newly appointed Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
The European Commission is intent to sticking to negotiating schedule which would see the withdrawal agreement completed ahead of the October European Council summit.
A Commission spokesman said: “We are working for a deal and available 24/7 to contribute to one.”
Despite the resignations, the UK Government is sharing the same optimistic and insists nothing has changed with the policy and timings committed to prior to this week, according to a British official.
However, Mrs May has told MPs the white paper will be delayed which was due to be published on Thursday.
The Prime Minister has said they will have to wait until “next week” before it is available, leaving the EU still waiting for the document.