Hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that her cabinet would back an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, London’s Brexit secretary Dominic Raab announced his resignation due to deep differences with May over the details of the deal
Raab was a Leave supporter and a replacement for the first Brexit secretary David Davis, who also quit in protest over May’s handling of the Brexit negotiations. Initially, Raab was among a group of senior ministers thought to be unhappy with the agreement reached earlier this week.
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
In his resignation letter, Raab said he could not support the deal because the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland “presented a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom”. He also said the backstop arrangement that is designed to prevent the return of a hard Irish border would inevitably end up with the EU having a veto over the UK’s ability to fully withdraw from the bloc.
“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,” adds Raab, underlining that he “cannot in good conscience support” the UK’s draft Brexit agreement with the EU”.
Earlier in the day, Shailesh Vara quit as minister of state for Northern Ireland, publishing his resignation letter on his Twitter account and saying the agreement “leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation”. According to the letter, Vara suggests that the UK “will be locked into an unfavourable Customs Arrangement that will only benefit the EU, as Brussels will ultimately have the final say over how the UK withdraws from the European Union.
With much sadness and regret I have submitted my letter of resignation as a Northern Ireland Minister to the Prime Minister. A copy of my letter is attached.
It has been a joy and privilege to serve in the Northern Ireland Office and I will always cherish the fondest memories. pic.twitter.com/SN8j4OwhYD
— Shailesh Vara MP (@ShaileshVara) November 15, 2018
According to those close to the “Leave” supporters, Raab’s departure is expected to have a devastating effect on May’s ability to hold together her government.
Conservative MP and Remain supporter, Anna Soubry, suggested that Raab’s resignation marks the end of MAy’s Withdrawal Agreement as his departure will seriously jeopardise May’s ability to hold on to her position as prime minister.