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22nd May 2019

Andrea Leadsom quits government as pressure mounts on Theresa May

James Dawson

Leadsom said she does not believe the UK would not be “truly sovereign” under the proposed deal

House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has quit her post over the government’s approach to Brexit, saying “I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result”.

In her resignation letter, the MP for South Northamptonshire said she was “proud” to have served in Theresa May’s government since 2016 and to “shape and fight for Brexit”, despite some “uncomfortable compromises along the way”.

However, Leadsom signalled she was uncomfortable with a number of the compromises put forward in the new proposed Brexit bill, saying that the UK would not be “truly sovereign” if it is passed and a second referendum would be “dangerously divisive”.

Adding that “such a breakdown of government processes that recent Brexit-related legislative proposals have not been properly scrutinised or approved by cabinet members”.

“The tolerance to those in cabinet who have advocated policies contrary to the government’s position has led to a complete breakdown of collective responsibility,” she wrote.

“I fully respect the integrity, resolution and determination that you have shown during your time as prime minister.

“No one has wanted you to succeed more than I have, but I do now urge you to make the right decisions in the interests of the country, this government and our party.”

The move comes after it was speculated that members of May’s shadow cabinet would resign if she refuses to resign on Wednesday night, with Tory MPs unhappy with the changes made by the prime minister announced on Tuesday to her withdrawal agreement.

Compromises intended to win cross-party support include a requirement to hold a vote on whether or not to have a second referendum if it is passed, along with a safeguard on workers rights to remain “as good as or better” than EU standards.

Leadsom previously ran against May to become Conservative party leader, but stepped aside to allow May a clear path to becoming prime minister. It is expected that Leadsom will launch a leadership when May leaves her post.