Friday 20 September 2019

'I cannot support this agreement' - Commons backlash begins as Northern Ireland minister quits

File photo dated 12/8/2018 of Shailesh Vara who has quit as Minister of State for Northern Ireland, saying he cannot support Theresa May's Brexit agreement, which he said
File photo dated 12/8/2018 of Shailesh Vara who has quit as Minister of State for Northern Ireland, saying he cannot support Theresa May's Brexit agreement, which he said "leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation". PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday November 15, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Shailesh Vara has quit as Northern Ireland Minister, saying he cannot support Theresa May's Brexit agreement.

The junior minister, who backed remain in the EU referendum, highlighted the challenge she faces in winning parliament's backing for her draft Brexit deal.

Mr Vara said the draft deal "leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation".

He is the first member of May's government to resign since she won the backing of her senior ministers for her draft Brexit deal with the European Union on Wednesday, a deal which has so far been mauled by opponents.

Vara criticised her deal in his resignation letter, saying that it left the UK "in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation".

Vara said he could not support the draft agreement.

"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 they do not have our best interests at heart. We can and must do better than this," he said.

Meanwhile, Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Good Morning Britain the deal was a "miserable failure of negotiation" and it was a "second-rate document".

He told the ITV programme: "It's a chaotic ending and the root cause is the utter division on the Conservative benches."

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