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Another UK minister resigns over May’s ‘naive’ EU deal

1 December 2018 11:32

 

UK universities and science minister Sam Gyimah has resigned from his job in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May’s “naive” plan to take the country out of the European Union (EU), becoming the seventh minister to step down over the issue.

The proposed agreement has full support from leaders of all 27 EU countries, which made it clear after an endorsement ceremony on Sunday that renegotiation was simply not an option should May fail to get a ‘yes’ vote from British lawmakers.

Gyimah, a Tory Member of Parliament (MP), announced his resignation on Friday, saying he had planned to vote against the agreement in parliament when it comes up for vote on December 11.

He warned in a statement that the deal on offer was “EU first” and meant that the UK should still abide by the bloc’s rules while no longer having a voice there.

“In these protracted negotiations, our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come. Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers,” he wrote in an article for the Daily Telegraph.

“It has become increasingly clear to me that the proposed deal is not in the British national interest, and that to vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control of our national destiny.”

Gyimah, who voted to remain in the EU in the June 2015 referendum, said May should entirely rule out a second referendum.

Proponents of a second Brexit poll argue that the divorce is far too complex and would hurt the British economy for the years to come. They also claim that many pro-Brexit voters have changed their minds after finding out about its consequences.

May, who also voted against Brexit, has made it clear that a second referendum is not going to happen.

Gyimah resignation is a fresh blow to the prime minister, who faces the daunting task of forcing her deal through parliament.

The Democratic Unionist party, which helped May save her government after an embarrassing snap election last year, has already announced that it would not support the proposed plan. The deal also faces strong opposition among May’s own MPs, as well as the Labour Party.

Gyimah resignation triggered an outpouring of support.

Jo Johnson, who quit from his job as rail minister over Brexit earlier this month, said the resignation was “strong and principled” and welcomed his openness to “giving the public the final say.”

Justine Greening, the former education secretary and leading supporter of the campaign for a second referendum said: “Like many MPs he has recognized the huge shortcomings of the prime minister’s deal and the need to find an alternative path forward for Britain.”

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