Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Three ministers quit government saying Theresa May ‘playing roulette’

Three ministers quit the government saying Theresa May is ‘playing roulette’ with people’s livelihoods as latest Commons defeat leaves the PM floundering

  • Richard Harrington Alistair Burt, and health minister Steve Brine resigned 
  • A huge total of 29 MPs broke a three-line whip on Monday night for a vote
  • The government was defeated in an amendment to give power to Parliament 
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A minister quit the Government last night accusing it of ‘playing roulette’ with Britons’ lives and livelihoods.

Business minister Richard Harrington resigned along with Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt, and health minister Steve Brine to join a plot to take control of Brexit from the Prime Minister and prevent a No Deal Brexit.

In total, 29 Tory MPs broke a three-line whip – including Theresa May’s former deputy Damian Green – demanding they oppose a plan to hold indicative votes on alternatives to her deal, which will take place tomorrow.

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MP for Winchester Steve Brine resigned on Monday night as insiders warned more ministers could follow suit


The defeated Prime Minister photographed leaving the Palace of Westminster tonight after enduring yet another torrid day over Brexit

One minister said last night that ‘another tranche of ministers were poised to go’ if the Government failed to allow free votes on the options tomorrow, which are likely to include remaining in a customs union and a second referendum.

Mr Burt and Mr Green joined the rebellion just a day after they were part of a delegation of ministers and former ministers invited by the Prime Minister to Chequers to help persuade Brexiteers including Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg to vote for her plan.

In his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, Mr Harrington warned that leaving the EU without an agreement would be a ‘giant economic experiment’ that would lead to the loss of jobs and livelihoods.


Richard Harrington said the government was ‘playing roulette’ with people’s lives in his resignation letter

He had previously been derided by some colleagues as a ‘serial non-resigner’ who repeatedly threatened to quit over Brexit but never did. Mr Harrington said: ‘This has not been an easy decision for me, as I have been, and continue to be, very supportive of the Government’s policy of securing an agreement with the European Union to ensure an orderly exit for the United Kingdom.

‘My duty is to my constituency. I have a responsibility to think and act in the local and national interest.

‘At this critical moment in our country’s history, I regret that the Government’s approach to Brexit is playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country who are employed by or otherwise depend on businesses for their livelihood.

‘Further, as the industry minister, the clear message I have been receiving from the business community is that the failure to secure a deal and to rule out a hard Brexit is resulting in cancelled investment decisions, business being placed abroad, and a sense of ridicule for British business across the world.

‘In the event of No Deal actually happening, there would be widespread and long-standing implications for everyone. The economy may take ten years to adjust, during which jobs would be lost and livelihoods ruined.

‘I fear No Deal would be part of a giant economic experiment championed by a minority of the economics profession, a minority of the Conservative Party and a minority of the country.

‘I have therefore decided that I resign from the Government to do all I can to prevent this from happening.’


Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt was one of the three ministers to resign from the government on Monday

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