Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 June 2020

Theresa May loses cabinet minister as pressure to resign mounts

Andrea Leadsom said she no longer believed UK Prime Minister could deliver Brexit

Theresa May is under increased pressure as she continues to try and get her Brexit withdrawal agreement through. Getty
Theresa May is under increased pressure as she continues to try and get her Brexit withdrawal agreement through. Getty

British House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom announced her resignation from the government on Wednesday over Prime Minister Theresa May's handling of the Brexit crisis.

The senior member of Mrs May's Conservative Party said in a letter to the British leader that she was quitting because, "I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result" that triggered Britain's efforts to leave the EU.

Ms Leadsom's resignation will add to Theresa May's leadership woes after a day of speculation about her own resignation following a renewed bid to pass her withdrawal bill.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mrs May outlined 10 major changes in the withdrawal package, promising a second referendum as an option, even though she opposes the concept.

But her colleagues would only get that chance if her Brexit bill passed the first stage of voting in Parliament.

The bill would also provide an obligation on governments to avoid the Irish backstop that would prevent trade and tariff checks on the island.

The announcement prompted criticism from Remain and Leave MPs, many of whom had voted in favour of Mrs May's deal at the last vote.

Ms Leadsom was a prominent member of the Leave campaign in 2016, and ran for leadership of the party after David Cameron's resignation.

"I have always maintained that a second referendum would be dangerously divisive and I do not support the government willingly facilitating such a concession," she said.

Ms Leadsom ave four reasons for her loss of faith in Mrs May's leadership.

She said May’s deal would not bring about “a truly sovereign United Kingdom”; called the idea of a second referendum “dangerously divisive”; said Mrs May'e recent Brexit announcement had not been appropriately "scrutinised or approved by cabinet members”; and that squabbles in the cabinet had led to "a complete breakdown of collective responsibility”.

In a letter accepting Ms Leadsom's resignation, the Prime Minister commended her for her work towards restoring the Palace of Westminster and proxy voting for MPs on parental leave, but said she did not agree with Ms Leadsom's assessment of the government's progress on Brexit.

"I do not agree with you that the deal we have negotiated with the European Union means that the United Kingdom will not become a sovereign country," she wrote.

"If the deal is passed, the UK will leave the European Union."

Updated: May 23, 2019 01:29 AM



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