MP describes resignation report in national newspaper as “utter nonsense”

Shailesh Vara MP

Shailesh Vara MP - Credit: Archant

MP Shailesh Vara has described a report in a national newspaper which claims he was considering resigning over Brexit as “utter nonsense”.

Mr Vara, the MP for North West Cambridgeshire, whose constituency covers the northern end of Huntingdonshire, is angry at a report in the Daily Telegraph which suggested he has been in talks with a group called Best for Britain.

The group wants ministers to back a second EU referendum, but the MP, who backed the Remain campaign in the 2016 EU referendum, said he would actually support a vote to leave if a second referendum was called.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, the day the article appeared in the paper, Mr Vara said: “Following the article in the Daily Telegraph, I would like to make it absolutely clear that I have not been in conversation with Best for Britain or any other organisation or individual as regards resigning from the Northern Ireland Office over the Government’s position on Brexit.

“The suggestion is total and utter nonsense. Prior to being made a minister in January of this year, my record of speaking in the House of Commons makes my robust views supporting Brexit very clear.

“Since the referendum, I have been consistent in my view that parliament should respect the democratic decision taken by the British people.

“That means leaving the EU which includes the single market and the customs union. In fact, if there were a referendum now, I would campaign and vote to leave the EU.”

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The Daily Telegraph report followed the resignation last Wednesday (June 13) of justice minister Phillip Lee, who cited the Government’s Brexit policy as his reason for leaving his post.

Mr Vara took up at position in the Northern Ireland office in January and has been part of efforts to re-establish the Northern Ireland assembly amid ongoing political deadlock between the largest parties.