The Daily Telegraph: Four more ministers are prepared to quit over Brexit after Phillip Lee’s “warning shot” resignation, The Daily Telegraph has learned.
A source close to Dr Lee said his resignation is meant to “send a signal to the whips and the Prime Minister”. It is understood four more junior ministers have been talking privately with Dr Lee and each other about quitting, and that his resignation is designed to “show they are serious”. “We can’t let the bullies continue to run our party,” the source said, highlighting the Government’s resistance to giving Parliament a meaningful vote on the final deal. “They have torn the party apart for years, and they still are.”
Asked if the other four resignations could come today, the source said: “I would be surprised. Phillip is the warning shot.”
MPs should not “undermine” the UK’s position when they vote on the EU bill, Brexit Secretary David Davis says. Opening two days of debate, Mr Davis said a bid to give Parliament more control would tie ministers’ hands and lead to a bad deal for the UK. MPs then accused each other of trying to “wreck” Brexit and, from the other side, being “zealots” who wanted to sideline Parliament.
Earlier the government was hit by its first resignation over Brexit. Justice Minister Phillip Lee said Parliament was being sidelined and that he could not support “how our country’s exit from the EU looks set to be delivered”. (BBC)
Speaking in the Commons, Lee said , “Resigning ministerial office has been an incredibly difficult decision,” he says. “It was in order to support my learned friend (Grieve). I am devesteated to have had to taken this decision…” “For me personally, this a matter of deep principle… A government’s first responsibility is to protect its citizens… It means that sometimes when a majority of our people want something that is against the good of society, government and parliament have a responsibility to protect us. “This was the case with the dealth penalty, when for decades politicians went against the majority view and refused to reinstate it. Now I believe it needs to be the case with the Brexit process.” (Sky News)
Dr Lee joins the back benches and says he will support an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill which is being debated and voted on in the House of Commons. David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, issued a statement, saying: “I’m disappointed Phillip has made this decision, but I am grateful to him for his dedicated work on areas such as female offenders, the victims strategy and youth justice.”