Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has resigned in a key blow to Theresa May’s efforts to secure a Brexit deal.
Announcing his departure on Twitter, where he posted his resignation letter to May, Raab said:
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“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”
Dominic Raab resigns: his reasons for quitting the role of Brexit Secretary
Echoing comments made over the past few days, Raab outlined two reasons why he chose to exit the post: Northern Ireland and the backstop.
“I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom,” he wrote.
“Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU hold a veto over our ability to exit. The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations, no democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, no the ability to decide to exit the arrangement.
“That arrangement is now also taken as the starting point for negotiating the Future Economic Partnership. If we accept that, it will severely prejudice the second phase of negotiations against the UK.”
Raab’s soft Brexit fears
Prior to announcing his resignation, Raab had been very vocal about his concerns over a soft Brexit.
Earlier in the week, he led a group of senior cabinet ministers in warning Theresa May that the current deal is unacceptable, arguing that there needed to be a “break clause” included, according to BuzzFeed News.
In October he raised similar concerns, according to Business Insider.
“We are leaving the European Union in fact, not just in name. If we can’t obtain a deal that secures that objective … if an attempt is made to lock us in via the back door of the European Economic Area (EEA) and customs union … or if the only offer from the EU threatens the integrity of the Union, then we will be left with no choice but to leave without a deal,” he warned.
Further resignations ahead?
Raab is not alone in resigning. Junior Northern Ireland minister, Shailesh Vara, has also handed in his resignation.
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There are now fears that others will follow, destabilising parliament and its position on Brexit.
“Raab’s resignation marks the end of PMs Withdrawal Agreement,” warned Conservative MP Anna Soubry in a tweet.
“This is v serious the PM will clearly be considering her position. My own view is that we need a Govt of National Unity and we need it now.”