EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit
LONDON (AP) — Two British Cabinet ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, resigned Thursday in opposition to the divorce deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with the EU — a major blow to her authority and her ability to get the deal through Parliament.
The resignations, less than a day after the Cabinet collectively backed the draft divorce agreement, weakens May and is likely to embolden her rivals within her Conservative Party. A leadership challenge is being openly discussed.
“I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU,” Raab said in a letter to the prime minister.
“I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made.”
Raab is the second Brexit Secretary that May has lost — David Davis, who like Raab backed Brexit in the U.K.’s June 2016 EU membership referendum, quit in July of this year.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey followed Raab out the door. She said in a letter that it is “no good trying to pretend to (voters) that this deal honors the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone that it doesn’t.”
The departures — several junior ministers have also quit — are a further sign that many supporters of Brexit won’t back May in a vote in Parliament on the deal.
Pro-Brexit politicians say the agreement, which calls for close trade ties between the U.K. and the bloc, would leave Britain a vassal state, bound to EU rules that it has no say in making.