Shailesh Vara resigns from Government over Brexit withdrawal agreement

Shailesh Vara MP

Shailesh Vara MP - Credit: Archant

North West Cambridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara has resigned from his ministerial post this morning (Thursday) amid anger over the prime minister’s Brexit deal.

Shailesh Vara posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

Shailesh Vara posted his resignation letter on Twitter. - Credit: Archant

Mr Vara said Theresa May’s deal, which was backed by her cabinet last night (Wednesday), left the UK in a “half-way house” and said it failed to deliver on the public’s vote to leave in 2016.

Mr Vara took up a post as Northern Ireland minister last year. He is the first minister to resign after the terms of the withdrawal agreement were released to the public.

In his resignation letter, a copy of which was posted on Twitter, Mr Vara said: “Given the past performance of the EU, there is every possibility that the UK-EU trade deal that we seek will take years to conclude. We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say.

“Worse, we will not be free to leave the customs arrangement unilaterally if we wish to do so. Northern Ireland in the meantime will be subject to a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK and whilst I agree there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom must be respect.

“With respect prime minister, this agreement does not provide from the United Kingdom being a sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU, however it is worded.

“We are a proud nation and it is a sad day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart. We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better. That is why I cannot support this agreement.

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“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as minister in the Northern Ireland office and I leave with the fondest of memories.