Theresa May hit by new Brexit resignation

By Andrew Woodcock, in Buenos Aires and Gavin Cordon, Press Association Political Staff

Theresa May’s hopes of winning backing for her Brexit deal have suffered a fresh blow as universities and science minister Sam Gyimah announced he was quitting.

In an article for The Daily Telegraph, Mr Gyimah said he could not support the “naive” agreement with Brussels which was “not in the national interest”.

Mr Gyimah, who campaigned for Remain in the referendum, is the seventh minister to resign from the Government since Mrs May unveiled the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

His departure underlines the uphill task the Prime Minister faces if she is to win the crunch vote in the Commons on the deal on December 11.

In his article, Mr Gyimah said that if MPs were to support the agreement it would “set ourselves up for failure” by surrendering “our voice, our vote and our veto”.

Departing universities minister Sam Gyimah (Conservative Party/PA)

“Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers.

“It is a democratic deficit and a loss of sovereignty the public will rightly never accept,” he said.

Earlier, Mrs May, in Argentina for the G20 summit, brushed off questions over whether she would resign if she was defeated in the Commons.

“I have been asked these sorts of questions before,” she told reporters.

“I’m tempted to think the price of coming on one of these trips is asking questions about my future, because they come up every time and my answers aren’t going to change.”

However the latest ministerial resignation by an MP who was among her early supporters for the leadership leaves her looking increasingly exposed.

Mr Gyimah said that her “compromise” agreement would not bring the country back together as she hoped and he urged her not to “dismiss out of hand” the option of a second referendum.

“What is being presented to the public as a sensible compromise Brexit deal, a 52/48 Brexit as some call it, will not bring closure or heal the divisions of Brexit,” he said.

“In the fullness of time, the public will wake up to what this so-called deal entails; neither leave nor remain voters will be pleased with a deal that leaves us poorer, less secure and weaker in the pursuit of our national interests.”

The Prime Minister received welcome support from Environment Secretary Michael Gove – one of the leaders of the Leave campaign – who urged Tory Brexiteers to get behind the agreement.

In an article for the Daily Mail, he warned that Brexit could be “in peril” if the agreement was voted down.

“Does the deal deliver 100% of what I wanted? No,” he wrote.

“But then we didn’t win 100% of the vote … you can’t always get everything that you want.”