First minister resigns over May's Brexit deal 3 years ago

First minister resigns over May's Brexit deal

Shailesh Vara resigns his government position with 'much sadness and regret'

Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara resigned from the government this morning.

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"This agreement does not provide for the United Kingdom being a sovereign independent country leaving the shackles of the EU," he wrote.

Last night, following a cabinet meeting that ran for close to five hours, Theresa May stood in front of Downing Street and announced consensus over the negotiated draft.

However, the crunch council was immediate, and none of its participants would have been able to read the whole 585 page document before discussion started.

As such, it is expected that there will be an avalanche of resignations over the next few days while Theresa May manages for the first time to unite Remainers and Leavers alike, only in opposition to her draft deal.

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Shailesh Vara is the Conservative MP for North West Cambridgeshire and a former vice chairman of the party. He said he would "always cherish the fondest memories" of his time in his government post but that the Prime Minister's agreement "leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit." He has been in his government position since July 2018.

He wrote: "I cannot support the withdrawal agreement that has been agreed with the European Union.

"The EU referendum offered a simple choice - to either stay in or leave the EU. The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave and that is what we, their elected representatives, must deliver.

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"The agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit.

"With respect Prime Minister, this agreement does not provide for the United Kingdom being a sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU, however it is worded.

"We are a proud nation and it is a say day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart.

"We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better."

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Minutes later, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab also resigned.