Brexit Politics

Theresa May to quit as Leader of the Conservative Party

Theresa May today announced that she intends to quit as leader of the Conservative Party on 7 June 2019. This will be followed by a leadership contest among Conservative MPs to decide on a new Prime Minister.

She will continue to serve as Prime Minister until a replacement is determined. This is expected to be concluded by the end of July.


Ever since I first stepped through the door behind me as Prime Minister, I have striven to make the United Kingdom a country that works not just for a privileged few, but for everyone.

And to honour the result of the EU referendum.

Back in 2016, we gave the British people a choice.

Against all predictions, the British people voted to leave the European Union.

I feel as certain today as I did three years ago that in a democracy, if you give people a choice you have a duty to implement what they decide.

I have done my best to do that.

I negotiated the terms of our exit and a new relationship with our closest neighbours that protects jobs, our security and our Union.

I have done everything I can to convince MPs to back that deal.

Sadly, I have not been able to do so.

I tried three times.

I believe it was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high.

But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new Prime Minister to lead that effort.

So I am today announcing that I will resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on Friday 7 June so that a successor can be chosen.

I have agreed with the Party Chairman and with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee that the process for electing a new leader should begin in the following week.

I have kept Her Majesty the Queen fully informed of my intentions, and I will continue to serve as her Prime Minister until the process has concluded.

It is, and will always remain, a matter of deep regret to me that I have not been able to deliver Brexit.

It will be for my successor to seek a way forward that honours the result of the referendum.

To succeed, he or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not.

Such a consensus can only be reached if those on all sides of the debate are willing to compromise.

For many years the great humanitarian Sir Nicholas Winton – who saved the lives of hundreds of children by arranging their evacuation from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia through the Kindertransport – was my constituent in Maidenhead.

At another time of political controversy, a few years before his death, he took me to one side at a local event and gave me a piece of advice.

He said, “Never forget that compromise is not a dirty word. Life depends on compromise.”

He was right.

As we strive to find the compromises we need in our politics – whether to deliver Brexit, or to restore devolved government in Northern Ireland – we must remember what brought us here.

Because the referendum was not just a call to leave the EU but for profound change in our country.

A call to make the United Kingdom a country that truly works for everyone. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last three years.

We have completed the work that David Cameron and George Osborne started: the deficit is almost eliminated, our national debt is falling and we are bringing an end to austerity.

My focus has been on ensuring that the good jobs of the future will be created in communities across the whole country, not just in London and the South East, through our Modern Industrial Strategy.

We have helped more people than ever enjoy the security of a job.

We are building more homes and helping first-time buyers onto the housing ladder – so young people can enjoy the opportunities their parents did.

And we are protecting the environment, eliminating plastic waste, tackling climate change and improving air quality.

This is what a decent, moderate and patriotic Conservative Government on the common ground of British Politics can achieve, even as we tackle the biggest peacetime challenge any Government has faced. I know that the Conservative Party can renew itself in the years ahead. That we can deliver Brexit and serve the British people with qualities inspired by our values.

Security; freedom; opportunity.

Those values have guided me throughout my career.

But the unique privilege of this office is to use this platform to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight the burning injustices that still scar our society.

That is why I put proper funding for mental health at the heart of our NHS long-term plan.

It is why I am ending the postcode lottery for survivors of domestic abuse.

It is why the Race Disparity Audit and gender pay reporting are shining a light on inequality, so it has nowhere to hide.

And it is why I set up the independent public inquiry into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower – to search for the truth, so nothing like it can ever happen again, and so the people who lost their lives that night are never forgotten.

Because this country is a Union.

Not just a family of four nations.

But a union of people – all of us.

Whatever our background, the colour of our skin, or who we love.

We stand together.

And together we have a great future.

Our politics may be under strain, but there is so much that is good about this country. So much to be proud of. So much to be optimistic about.

I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honour of my life to hold – the second female Prime Minister but certainly not the last.

I do so with no ill-will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.

Withdrawal Agreement

Rehman Chishti Resigns – 15 November 2018

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.

Yours ever,

Rehman Chishti

Withdrawal Agreement

Ranil Jayawardena Resigns – 15 November 2018

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.

Ranil Jayawardena resigns from his post as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministry of Justice.

This is a pivotal time for the United Kingdom. It is important to deliver on the democratic decision of the people. It is important to get the right deal for our country. And it is important for every Member to act in good conscience. That is why, with regret, I must offer my resignation as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Ministry of Justice.

At the last election, you said:

“Our future prosperity, our place in the world, our standard of living, and the opportunities we want for our children – and our children’s children – all depend on getting the next five years right.”

I agree. But I cannot agree, in the cold light of day, that the deal in front of us today is right for our country. It does not deliver a good and fair Brexit.

A good and fair Brexit must be good for those with close links to the European Union, be that family or business, but it must be fair to those who voted to leave the European Union also – taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money.

This draft agreement does not do that. We will be locked into, amongst other deficiencies, European Union law. In particular, Article 89 sets out:

“Judgments and orders of the Court of Justice of the European Union … shall have binding force in their entirety on and in the United Kingdom.”

Article 174 continues that on a question of whether the United Kingdom has complied with its obligations under Article 89:

“The Court of Justice of the European Union shall have jurisdiction to give such a ruling which shall be binding …”

This is not taking back control of our laws. Further, at the last election we committed to leave the single market and the customs union. We committed to pursuing new trade agreements with other countries at the same time as maintaining free trade with European markets. This draft agreements put these and other commitments at risk too.

I entered public service not to be defined by the European question, but to deliver for my constituents and for our country. To provide the right infrastructure for our economy to grow. To secure the best education for our children so they have better lives tomorrow than they have today. To protect the public by enforcing our laws and our borders. I will continue to work hard from the backbenches to deliver on these priorities and for my constituents as their local Member of Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Ranil Jayawardena

Withdrawal Agreement

Suella Braverman Resigns – 15 November 2018

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.

Suella Braverman resigns from her post as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Dear Prime Minister,

This is very difficult letter to write. One which I never expected to compose. It has been an immense honour to support you in delivering the historic opportunity of leaving the EU as a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union. It has, in many ways, been a dream job which I have enjoyed tremendously. However, despite my strenuous attempts, I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by Cabinet. It is therefore with deep regret that I tender my resignation.

My reasons are simple. Firstly, the proposed Northern Ireland Backstop is not Brexit. It is not what the British people — or my constituents — voted for in 2016. It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU. This robs the UK of the main competitive advantages from Brexit. Without a unilateral right to terminate or a definite time limit to the Backstop, our numerous promises to leave the customs union will not be honoured. 17.4 million people voted for the UK to leave the EU in our own sovereign way and at a time of our choosing. The Backstop renders this impossible and generations of people will see this as betrayal.

Secondly, the backstop proposal set out different regulatory regimes for Northern Ireland and Great Britain threatening to break up our precious Union. I am confident — having met with Customs professionals in my role at the Department — that this could have been avoided.

Throughout this process, I have compromised. I have put pragmatism ahead of idealism and understand that concessions are necessary in a negotiation. I have kept faith in the ultimate destination to justify an uncomfortable journey. However I’ve reached a point where I feel that these concessions do not respect the will of the people — the people who put us here and whom we humbly serve. We must not let them down.

I thoroughly enjoyed working at the Department and have been supported by excellent civil servants. To them, I am grateful.

Thank you for the opportunity. I have immense respect for the way in which you have conducted yourself during these very difficult times. I know how extremely hard you have worked to serve our national interest.

I look forward to working to deliver Brexit in the best possible way from the Backbenches.

Yours sincerely,

Suella Braverman

Withdrawal Agreement

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Resigns – 15 November 2018

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.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan resigns from her post as Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Education

Dear Prime Minister,

It is with a profoundly heavy heart that I tender my resignation as Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Education, as I cannot support the Withdrawal Agreement which you have agreed with the EU.

It has been an honour to serve in your Government both in education and previously as PPS in the Ministry of Defence. I will continue to speak up on all those matters close to my heart around the armed forces covenant and special educational needs, to try to move policy decisions forwards in the future.

I have struggled for months to continue to give you my support on Brexit, as you battled through the most difficult of public negotiations to find a new relationship with the EU after we have left next year. Despite my own convictions on Brexit, I have always been a pragmatist and understood there would likely be areas of mutually agreed future partnership which I would not be wholly supportive of, but could live with and justify to my constituents.

Sadly, the deal which you and your Cabinet have approved is not one which I can support. It is now clear to me that the negotiations have been built on the UK trying to appease the EU and we have allowed ourselves to be led into a deal which is unacceptable to the 17.4 million voters who asked for us to step away from the EU project and become an independent nation once again.

As an MP with a historic and active fishing community, the policy framework proposed in the draft agreement published last night would prevent the UK from independently negotiating access quota shares, and would mean that the UK would become an independent coastal state in name only.

As an MP bordering Scotland, the regulatory framework agreement for Northern Ireland is very important to me, and I cannot support the position the EU agreement takes. I believe that it poses a real threat to the stability and integrity of the Union. The indefinite backstop arrangement agreed is also unacceptable, since it leaves the UK permanently trapped in a customs union, which will restrict forever our trade prospects. I cannot agree to a deal in which my country will have its unique innovative spirit crushed by removing the great opportunity of competitive advantage for the decades ahead.

Some would say well just agree the treaty as it is now then bin it later. But I don’t believe in that way of doing business – if we sign a treaty I want us to stand by it. I believe we must protect the Brexit mandate by trying to secure a deal which understands the spirit of the referendum, or we must have the leadership courage to deliver a WTO deal and work on a trade agreement later.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my country in your Government.

Yours Sincerely,