Saturday 19 January 2019

Brexit minister resigns after five months over 'injury sustained in 2015'


Jon Stone

The Brexit department has lost its third minister in four months after Baroness Anelay stepped down from the front bench on Friday.

The Conservative peer cited "a worsening of an injury sustained in 2015" as her reason for leaving the Department for Exiting the European Union.

The minister follows June departures David Jones and Lord Bridges out of the door at the department.

The Brexit Department has battled with high turnover of ministers and civil servants since it was set up in 2016.

Figures released by the ministry last month show that more than 20 per cent of its civil servants have left in the last 14 months, far higher than the average 9 per cent turnover across the civil service.

In a letter to Theresa May, Baroness Anelay said she was leaving the department with "regret" and that it had been a "huge privilege" to work with Brexit Secretary Davis Davis. The PM said she should be "extremely proud" of her service.

The departing minister, who has served on the front bench in the House of Lords for 20 years, said: “It has been a huge privilege to work with and see first-hand the dedication of my ministerial colleagues and the civil service as we deliver on the referendum result and negotiate the UK’s exit from the EU.

“I’m immensely proud of what the Government has achieved while I have been a part of it, and am grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve.”

Mr Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, said: "Joyce has made an invaluable contribution to ensuring a successful departure from the EU through her work representing Britain abroad, and representing the Department in the House of Lords.

"She's been a great part of our Ministerial team and a good friend. I wish her all the best as she returns to the back benches where she will bring an unparalleled level of experience to the task of scrutinising Brexit legislation on its way through the House of Lords.

"I'm delighted to welcome Lord Callanan to the Department — he brings with him a wealth of experience in Brussels and a proven ability in political leadership. I look forward to working together as a Ministerial team to continue delivering the important task of negotiating our exit from the European Union and making a success of Brexit."

Online Editors

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