Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara resigns over May's Brexit draft deal

Lianna Brinded
Head of Finance, Yahoo Finance UK
Photo: Getty

Shailesh Vara has resigned and has become the first politician to quit their job over prime minister Theresa May’s draft Brexit deal proposal.

On Twitter the MP for North West Cambridgeshire said, “With much sadness and regret I have submitted my letter of resignation as a Northern Ireland Minister to the Prime Minister. A copy of my letter is attached. It has been a joy and privilege to serve in the Northern Ireland Office and I will always cherish the fondest memories.” 


READ MORE: May goes to war over her Brexit deal and to keep her power

On Tuesday evening, Theresa May’s government confirmed that it had sealed a draft Brexit deal with the European Union. After a night of intensive one-on-one talks with her ministers and she then held a Cabinet meeting the following day. On Wednesday night, she confirmed that “the collective decision of Cabinet was that the government should agree the draft withdrawal agreement and the outline political declaration.” 

Importantly, she did not stipulate that it was unanimous decision. In fact, reports have surfaced since then that ministers are “on the brink of resigning” as that Cabinet meeting left some of the MPs “in tears.”

It is suggested as many as a third of the 28 ministers that attended that Cabinet meeting voiced doubts about the deal.

READ MORE: Brexit deal: Ministers ‘on the brink of resigning’ as stormy Cabinet meeting leaves them ‘in tears’

Late last night, May drew battle lines over what the options are over the draft Brexit deal.

“When you strip away the detail the choice before us is clear. This deal, which delivers on the vote of the referendum, which brings us back control of our money, laws and borders, ends free movement, protects jobs, security and our union, or leave with no deal, or no Brexit at all,” she said.

“I know that there will be difficult days ahead… But the choice was this deal… or going back to square one, with more division, more uncertainty, and the failure to deliver on the referendum.”

It marked the first time she had publicly acknowledge that cancelling Brexit was an option.

More to follow…