Huge blow to May as two Brexit-backing ministers quit the Cabinet

Jeannie Matthews
November 16, 2018

"I understand fully that there are some who are unhappy with those compromises but this deal delivers what people voted for and it is in the national interest", she said.

If May wins, she remains in office and can not be challenged again for 12 months.

If enough Conservative lawmakers make similar calls, there could be a vote for a new party leader, which would force May out of her position as prime minister.

A chorus of other Brexiteers have joined Rees-Mogg in calling for a vote of no-confidence.

But in a sign of just how hard the vote in the British parliament might be, Shailesh Vara, who backed European Union membership in the 2016 referendum, quit on Thursday as a junior minister in May's government.

If she is ousted, Britain's already fraught political atmosphere will be further complicated by a Tory leadership battle.

"The British people want us to get this done".

"We're in the Brexs**t - Theresa May's soft Brexit deal blasted by ALL sides", read the headline in The Sun, Britain's best read newspaper.

News that a deal had been struck after a year and a half of negotiations was welcomed in Brussels, and European Union chief Donald Tusk called for a November 25 summit of leaders so they can rubber-stamp the agreement.

It is not yet clear when parliament might vote on a deal.

"I can not reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto", he said in his resignation letter.

Mrs May said Mr Gove was doing "an excellent job at Defra" adding: "I haven't appointed a new Dexeu [Department for Exiting the European Union] secretary yet and I will be making appointments to the government in due course".

Raab, whose resignation was the most significant, said: "I can not reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election".

Two Leave-backing ministers including the man in charge of the UK's withdrawal negotiations have sensationally quit the Cabinet in a massive blow to Theresa May's Brexit plans.

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Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party who is seeking early elections, called the entire negotiations process "shambolic".

"This is not the deal the country was promised".

Her resignation follows reports she was shouted at by civil servant Mark Sedwill during Wednesday night's five-hour cabinet meeting.

But she acknowledged the agreement had involved "difficult and sometimes uncomfortable decisions".

The Conservative MP's quip came after the Prime Minister used a cricket analogy during her press conference on Thursday to explain how she would stick to the task of delivering her Brexit deal.

The pound plunged against the dollar and euro as Britain's business sector gave a lukewarm verdict to the proposed agreement.

At 1340 GMT, the pound was worth around $1.2770, compared with nearly $1.30 late Wednesday. The euro meanwhile jumped to 88.26 pence, a gain of 1.3 percent.

The draft agreement of more than 400 pages is understood to involve the United Kingdom remaining in a customs union and committing to a "level playing field" on EU rules in areas like environmental and workplace protections during a backstop period after Brexit.

The resignation of Raab, the man involved with the actual drafting of the agreement with European Union counterparts, throws Prime Minister May's leadership in turmoil.

"There's no way to know if an accord will finally be agreed", he said.

In Brussels, EU President Donald Tusk said member states would have until Tuesday to examine the deal and to agree the wording of a parallel political statement setting out goals for the bloc's future relations with London.

The resignations are being seen as a sign of bigger troubles ahead for May, who defended the deal before belligerent MPs in the House of Commons.

Ms McVey, who was promoted to the Cabinet by Mrs May in January, was reported to have been close to tears as she tried to force a vote on the Brexit deal in Wednesday's Cabinet.

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