Brexit minister Dominic Raab has resigned his position in government, saying he “cannot in good conscience” support the UK’s draft agreement with the EU over the country’s exit from the union.
Theresa May announced Wednesday evening (14 November) that she had secured backing from the cabinet for the agreement, but several ministers have voiced deep concerns over the deal.
Raab – a Leave supporter who was promoted into the cabinet after previous Brexit minister David Davis himself resigned in July – said in his resignation letter that the proposed terms of the agreement “present a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom”.
“I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit,” Raab told the prime minister. “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 such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any 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 negotiation 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," he said.
Shortly after Raab’s announcement, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey became the second cabinet minister to resign over the matter.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tweeted in response: “This is now an incredibly serious situation. The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal has fallen at the first hurdle.
“When Theresa May makes her statement to parliament this morning she can’t stand up and say ‘nothing has changed.’ She needs to urgently to rethink her approach.”
This is now an incredibly serious situation. The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal has fallen at the first hurdle.— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) November 15, 2018
When Theresa May makes her statement to Parliament this morning she can’t stand up and say ‘nothing has changed.’ She needs to urgently to rethink her approach. https://t.co/IG0vf8LVUK