Brexit deal resignations – Ministers who quit to oppose Theresa May's withdrawal deal

TORY MPs quit in droves at protest against Theresa May's hated EU withdrawal deal.

While in power, May chalked up three failures while attempting to win Parliament's backing for her Brexit blueprint.

Her never-ending attempts to find a solution "the country deserves" just kept hitting roadblocks.

As Boris Johnson looks for a new way to leave Europe, let's a take a look at those who fell by the wayside in opposition to May's plan.

Who resigned over Theresa May's EU withdrawal deal?

Nigel Adams

On April 3 a junior Wales Minister, Nigel Adams, quit his post over the PM's announcement that she would try to delay Brexit again and hold talks with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to seek a compromise.

He criticised her in a letter for seeking a deal with "a Marxist who has never once in his political life out British interests first".

He said: "It is clear we will now end up in the customs union. That is not the Brexit my constituents were promised."

Chris Heaton-Harris

Chris Heaton-Harris, a junior minister in May's government, quit his job on April 3 because he did not support any further extension to Britain's departure from the EU.

He wrote to the PM: "I simply cannot support any further extension to Article 50 and this obviously means I cannot stay in government."

Nick Boles

On April 1 Nick Boles, who had attempted to gather support for a Norway-style single market relationship with the EU, dramatically resigned the Tory whip while still in the chamber.

He said: "I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise."

The former minister quit the Conservatives and walked out after his alternative plan for Brexit was rejected for a second time.

He had already resigned from his local Tory party after a row over Brexit.

Richard Harrington, Steve Brine and Alistair Burt

March 25 saw three ministers quit so they could vote to give MPs control of the Brexit process.

Business Minister Richard Harrington, Health Minister Steve Brine and Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt left Theresa May's top team so they could vote against the Government.

Harrington previously said he would be prepared to resign as a minister to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

He has been the MP for Watford since 2010 and took up his ministerial post in June 2017.

The trio stepped down in order to vote for Oliver Letwin's amendment which wrestled control from Theresa May and puts it in the hands of MPs.

In a statement following his resignation, Burt said: "It is with great sadness I resigned from the Government last night.

"Having accepted the result of the Referendum, I have worked and voted consistently for the best outcome for the country and constituency, which is to leave the EU with a good arrangement for the future."

Sarah Newton

Cornish MP Sarah Newton resigned from her position on March 13 as a minister at the Department for Work and Pensions.

She quit in order to vote against leaving the EU without a deal.

Paul Masterton

Another calling it quits on March 13 was parliamentary private secretary at Home Office, Paul Masterton – to vote to rule out a no-deal Brexit under all circumstances.

The Scottish Tory told The National: "I believe we must honour the result of the EU Referendum. I cannot support the UK leaving without a deal… I honoured that position."

George Eustice

On February 28, farming minister George Eustice quit in protest at May opening the door to a Brexit delay.

Eustice, a Eurosceptic, said Britain should be ready to walk out with No Deal on March 29, and scoffed at the delay as "dangerous".

Alberto Costa

Tory MP Alberto Costa, parliamentary private secretary at Scotland Office, quit his Government aide post on February 27 after tabling a Commons amendment on EU citizens' rights in a no-deal scenario, citing concern about how plans would work out in practice.

He warned that Government plans regarding the status of the estimated 3.7 million EU citizens after Brexit could lead to a "tsunami of litigation".

Craig Tracey, Eddie Hughes and Tom Pursglove

The PM suffered three more resignations on January 15 when her EU deal was turfed out by a record Commons majority, when her plan for leaving the bloc was crushed by 432 votes to 202.

Two ministerial aides voted against the Government – Craig Tracey, a PPS to Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt and Eddie Hughes, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay's aide.

Tory MP Tom Pursglove quit as a Tory vice chairman.

Gareth Johnson

Assistant Tory whip Gareth Johnson quit just 24 hours before the January 15 vote.

The arch Brexiteer said the deal would keep us tied to the EU for years to come, and said it was "disrespectful" to the millions of Brits who opted to leave.

Will Quince

Will Quince, parliamentary private secretary at the Ministry of Defence, quit on December 8 2018 to oppose Theresa May's Brexit deal.

Sam Gyimah

University and Science minister Sam Gyimah resigned in protest at May’s Brexit deal on November 30.

Mr Gyimah argued that the PM’s deal would not be in the national interest, and is campaigning for another referendum.

November 15, 2018: raft of resignations

Among those resigning on November 15, 2018, to oppose May's draft Brexit deal were: Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara; Brexit secretary Dominic Raab; work and pensions secretary Esther McVey; Brexit minister Suella Braverman; PPS at the Department for Education Anne-Marie Trevelyan; PPS at Ministry of Justice Ranil Jayawardena and the government trade envoy to Pakistan, Rehman Chishti.

Dominic Raab

The biggest blow to Theresa May's EU proposals was the departure from the Cabinet of Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.

He said that he "cannot in good conscience support" the agreement.

Raab – a Leave supporter who was promoted to the Cabinet to replace David Davis when he quit in protest at May's Brexit plans – is among a group of senior ministers thought to be unhappy with the agreement.

He was closely involved in drafting the agreement, which sets out the terms of Britain's departure from the EU.

Raab said in his resignation letter in November 2018 that he could not support it because the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland "presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom".

And, he added, the "backstop" arrangements aimed at preventing the return of a hard Irish border would result in the EU 'holding a veto over our ability to exit'.

"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," he told the Prime Minister.

Esther McVey

Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, quit on November 15, 2018, and told the PM: "Your deal does not honour the result of the referendum."

In her resignation letter, McVey told the Prime Minister that she could “no longer support” the deal.

She wrote: “Repeatedly you have said that we must regain control of our money, our borders and our laws and develop our own independent trade policy.

“This deal fails to do this.”

Shailesh Vara

Also on November 15, Shailesh Vara quit as minister of state for Northern Ireland, saying he cannot support Mrs May's agreement.

He said the proposal "leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation".

Conservative Brexiteer MP Anne Marie Morris said she believed enough Tory MPs had now sent letters to the chairman of the 1922 committee to trigger a leadership contest.

Suella Braverman

Blasting the Northern Irish backstop as "not what the British people voted for", Suella Braverman resigned from her post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

The Fareham MP said the Northern Ireland backstop "is not Brexit" and it threatens to "break up our precious union", which she said "could have been avoided".

Rehman Chishti

The Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party resigned his position after seeing "the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement and listening to your statement in the House".

Rehman Chishti also stepped down from his role as Trade Envoy to Pakistan.

The MP for Gillingham and Rainham said he "very much enjoyed" the roles but found it "shocking" that the British Government "is failing to put into practice the core values that our country stands for".

Ranil Jayawardena

MP for North East Hampshire, Ranil Jayawardena, quit his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary for Department for Work and Pensions.

He said in his resignation letter that it is "important to deliver on the democratic decision of the people… and that is why, with regret, I must offer my resignation".

He added that the deal "does not deliver a good and fair Brexit".

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Anne-Marie Trevelyan submitted her letter of resignation from the post of Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Education.

The MP for Berwick upon Tweed said: "As an MP bordering Scotland, the regulatory framework agreement for Northern Ireland is very important to me, and I cannot support the position the EU agreement takes."

Jo Johnson

The brother of Boris Johnson quit as transport minister on November 9, 2018.

Johnson warned the UK was "barrelling towards an incoherent" divorce and called for another referendum on the final terms of Brexit.

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