Prime Minister Theresa May faces a new crisis of confidence after Dominic Raab resigned as Brexit Secretary, saying he “cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU”.
Tweeting his letter of resignation, Mr Raab said: “Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU. Here is my letter to the PM explaining my reasons, and my enduring respect for her.”
Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU. Here is my letter to the PM explaining my reasons, and my enduring respect for her. pic.twitter.com/tf5CUZnnUz
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) November 15, 2018
Following the Brexit Secretary’s resignation, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage tweeted: “Well done Dominic Raab, a few more and we will be rid of this duplicitous Prime Minister.”
Not long afterwards Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, resigned from Theresa May’s cabinet.
She claimed the deal brought before MPs on Wednesday “does not honour the result of the referendum”.
Earlier this morning I informed the Prime Minister I was resigning from her Cabinet pic.twitter.com/ZeBkL5n2xH
— Esther McVey (@EstherMcVey1) November 15, 2018
Junior Brexit minister Suella Braverman has also quit along with Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara.
Others MPs to resign from the government include Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Ranil Jayawardena and Rehman Chishti – who is vice-chairman of the Conservative party and trade envoy to Pakistan.
My letter of resignation sent to PM @theresa_may stepping down as Vice Chairman @Conservatives & PM Trade Envoy to Pakistan. 1. Cannot support Draft EU Withdrawal Agreement. 2. Very disappointed by lack of leadership shown by UK Gov to do morally right thing in Asia Bibi Case. pic.twitter.com/hcaxba1hJr
— Rehman Chishti (@Rehman_Chishti) November 15, 2018
And Tory MP for South East Cornwall Sheryll Murray has written to Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the Tory 1922 committee of backbenchers, calling for a vote over Mrs May’s leadership.
I have lost confidence in the Brexit policy of the Prime Minister and
have therefore written to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee asking for
a vote to take place over her Leadership. pic.twitter.com/dvrJiIAMAC
— Sheryll Murray (@sheryllmurray) November 15, 2018
In a statement in the House of Commons, Mrs May said that the deal negotiated is “the Brexit the British people voted for” adding: “I choose to do what is in our national interest.”
She said: “Voting against a deal would mean more uncertainty. The choice is clear, we can chose to leave with no deal and risk no Brexit at all or we can chose and support the best deal that could be negotiated.”
Here is Dominic Raab’s letter of resignation
Dear Prime Minister,
It has been an honour to serve in your government as Justice Minister, Housing Minister and Brexit Secretary.
I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal. I must resign. I understand why you have chosen to pursue the deal with the EU on the terms proposed, and I respect the different views held in good faith by all of our colleagues.
For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.
Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit. The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations. No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement. That arrangement is now also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic Partnership. If we accept that, it will severely prejudice the second phase of negotiations against the UK.
Above all, I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election. This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust.
I appreciate that you disagree with my judgment on these issues. I have weighed very carefully the alternative courses of action which the government could take, on which I have previously advised. Ultimately, you deserve a Brexit Secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction. I am only sorry, in good conscience, that I cannot.
My respect for you and the fortitude you have shown in difficult times, remains undimmed.