A defiant British Prime Minister Theresa May has told the House of Commons that the draft agreement for leaving the European Union is in the country’s best interests – hours after two of her cabinet ministers resigned.
Barely a day after supposedly securing the support of a divided cabinet, Brexit minister Dominic Raab resigned in protest against the deal. He was followed by Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey.
The resignations are a blow for the struggling Conservatives leader, who had appeared confident of moving closer to a deal after a five-hour cabinet meeting had approved the new terms on Wednesday.
“I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal, I must resign,” Mr Raab tweeted.
“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”
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
By resigning, Mr Raab became the second Brexit minister to resign in six months after David Davis quit in July.
Ms May had made major concessions to achieve the 585-page deal, which she told reporters was in the best interests of the UK.
“When you strip away the detail, the choice before us is clear — this deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings back control of our money, laws, and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security, and our union, or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all,” Ms May said.
The draft agreement is still required to pass the Parliament, where it will likely face strong opposition from Labour and rebel Conservatives.
In his letter, Mr Raab said the agreement was unacceptable, and that “no democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime”.
He said Ms May’s deal went against the Conservatives’ election promises.
“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.
“This is, at its heart, a matter of public trust.”
European Union leaders were scheduled to meet on November 25 to endorse the divorce deal.