A number of resignations have taken place following the “collective agreement” of the Cabinet to accept the Draft of the Withdrawal Agreement on the 14 November 2018.
Rehman Chishti resigns from his post as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and Trade Envoy to Pakistan.
It was an honour to be appointed by you as the Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party and also to serve as your Trade Envoy to Pakistan.
I regret to inform you that having seen the draft EU Withdrawal Agreement and listened to your statement in the House today, after reflecting on this matter and taking into account wider considerations which I will duly outline, I regret to inform you that I am resigning from both my positions with immediate effect.
At the outset, this, for me, is about delivering on the promises we made to the British people at the General Election last year in our manifesto, that leaving the European Union means leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, that the UK will be taking back control over our laws, our borders, and our money.
I have repeatedly made this point whilst representing our party to many different media outlets as Vice Chairman.
‘It would not be appropriate for me to continue in these roles, which I enjoy very much, as it would require me to advocate for a position which I feel is contrary to our firm manifesto commitment which I stood for when elected in 2017, and have publicly advocated for since. The terms of the backstop, in effect, amount in my view to a hybrid membership of the EU Customs Union and Single Market and further the EU would hold a veto over our ability to exit. The UK in effect will be a part of a system where it will be a rule taker without any say on the rules.
The second point which brings me to write this letter is the manner in which the Government has dealt with the case regarding Asia Bibi. This is a case that I have worked on passionately since 2012, alongside Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the Former Bishop of Rochester, to ensure that justice is done which was handed down by the Pakistan Supreme Court only recently.
What I fond shocking, is that the British Government is failing to put into practice the core values that our country stands for: religious freedom, justice, morally doing the right thing, and that when we see injustice where an individual’s life is in clear danger ad they have been persecuted for their faith, we do all that we can to help them. The Government should not wait to see if another country offers sanctuary, we should have had the conviction to lead on this matter and offer sanctuary ourselves straight away.
The letter which I sent to you regarding this matter on 13th November now has the support of some 124 MPs and Lords. I would be grateful if you can personally intervene in his case to ensure that a morally right decision is finally made which takes into account our core values, irrespective of the position that any other country may take on this.
It was a pleasure to be appointed by you to serve as your PM Trade Envoy to Pakistan for the past 14 months, a country that I passionately care about. Thanks to the fantastic work and hard effort of our UK Pakistan Trade team, trade between our two countries has increased by over 10 per cent in the last year alone, and now stands at £2.9billion.
I will continue to work day and night to ensure that we have a Conservative Government which continues to help create a country that works for all with the core belief in aspiration and opportunity for all.