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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Dominic Raab named as new UK Brexit chief

Mr Raab was a senior leader in leaving EU campaign 

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab leaves Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab leaves Downing Street in Westminster, London, Britain, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Pro-Brexit politicians have welcomed the appointment of Dominic Raab’s Secretary of State for leaving the European Union, following the resignation of his predecessor David Davis.

Mr Raab was a senior member of the Leave campaign and has said that remaining in the EU was a “risk,” citing immigration and Eurozone unemployment as two of his key worries. Mr Davis resigned after he became dissatisfied with the “weak” government approach to Brexit – it is hoped by dissatisfied Conservative Party minister’s that Mr Raab, a blackbelt in karate, will be able to move matters forward in negotiations with his EU opposite number Michel Barnier.

“Very welcome appointment of Dominic Raab. Highly capable, across the issues, attention to detail, Leave supporter and pragmatist. Look forward to working with him to deliver Brexit,” said pro-Leave and international development minister Penny Mordaunt.

The arch hard line Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg described Mr Raab as “very able.”

Beforehand Mr Raab was the housing and planning minister and a lawyer. From 2006 to 2010 he worked as Chief of Staff for Mr Davis when the latter was the shadow Home Secretary.

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Mr Raab had been particularly critical of the European Arrest Warrant whereby a member state is required to detain and transfer a criminal suspect to the country issuing an arrest warrant if it is in the EU. In the past he has clashed over the issue with current British Prime Minister Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.

“In reality, remaining outside Brussels’s drive towards a single EU justice system would protect the liberty of our citizens, re-focus our law enforcement relationship with the EU on operational cooperation, and guarantee UK democratic control over such sensitive policy,” Mr Raab wrote in an opinion piece for the Independent in 2014.

“Fast-track EAWs, with scant safeguards, hang too many innocent people out to dry. Senior extradition judge Lord Justice Thomas lambasted the regime as systematically “unworkable”. Ministers concede that there’s no appetite in Brussels for reforming the EU rules. So if we want to shield the innocent, we have to stay outside the EAW, and agree a new extradition treaty with proper safeguards,” he added.

Still, the appointment of Mr Raab did not improve the outlook from the opposition Labour Party. “The appointment of Dominic Raab changes nothing. The divisions at the heart of government over Brexit remain as deep as ever,” tweeted Keir Starmer, the Shadow Secretary of State for Brexit.

A spokesman for the European Commission also said it was not its problem that Davis resigned.