David Davis: I'd be Tory leader if it was a chief executive job

PUBLISHED: 16:26 25 February 2019

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis gives evidence on developments in European Union divorce talks to the Commons Exiting the EU Committee in Portcullis House, London.

Former Brexit Secretary David Davis gives evidence on developments in European Union divorce talks to the Commons Exiting the EU Committee in Portcullis House, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Former Brexit secretary David Davis says he would probably be the Conservative leader if the role was like an application for a job as chief executive.

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Davis - the favourite for the leadership in 2005 before blowing it with a poorly-received conference speech - told Tatler magazine he believed he had the credentials for the top job.

The former minister, whose campaign involved posing with young women in “It’s DD for me” t-shirts, said Theresa May “probably” had another year as Tory leader and revealed he did not submit a letter of no confidence in the prime minister last year.

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.”

Davis also told the magazine he did not regret persuading May to stay on after she lost her majority at the general election in 2017.

Asked if that was the right decision, he said: “Well, who would your alternative have been... I don’t regret it. I mean, look, you always make decisions based on what you know at the time.”

Davis also revealed his wife advised him to quit the Cabinet after May unveiled her controversial Chequers plan for Brexit in July.

He recalled: “She just said ‘leave’. She’d seen quite how much work went into the job. She saw me up close in the way nobody else does.”

As Brexit secretary Davis was widely derided for how few times he met his EU counterpart Michel Barnier and for turning up without any paperwork.

He also said that, to do the job, “I don’t have to be very clever, I don’t have to know that much.”

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