Ministers quit over Brexit deal

Dominic Raab

Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey has joined Dominic Raab in quitting the Cabinet over Theresa May’s  proposed Brexit deal.

McVey’s resignation letter, which came just an hour after the Brexit Minister’s, said the Prime Minister’s draft deal “does not honour the result of the referendum”.

McVey said the agreement will see the UK “handing over around £39bn to the EU without anything in return” and will “trap us in a customs union”.

She claims the deal would see the UK handing over control to the EU and that it “threatens the integrity of the UK”.

“I cannot defend this, and I cannot vote for this deal. I could not look my constituents in the eye were I to do that,” she said.

Earlier this morning, Raab said he “cannot in good conscience support” the terms that had been reached.

Raab has been the minister in charge of the Brexit negotiations since July, following the resignation of David Davis.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, he said the regulatory regime for Northern Ireland set out in the proposed deal “presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

He also said he “cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit”.

Raab and McVey’s resignations are a major blow to May’s hopes of securing support from Conservative MPs and then Parliament for the deal ahead of the UK leaving the European Union on March 29.

Shailesh Vara has also quit as minister of state for Northern Ireland, because he believes the deal “leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation”.

Raab’s resignation resulted in the pound falling in value, said Russ Mould, investment director at Manchester investment platform AJ Bell.

He said: “Dominic Raab’s resignation as Brexit Secretary didn’t go down well with currency markets, sending the pound down more than 1% against the euro and the US dollar.”