East Surrey MP Sam Gyimah, the universities and science minister, has resigned in protest at the Government’s “naive” Brexit plan, saying that any deal we strike with Brussels will be “EU first”.
Mr Gyimah says Theresa May’s draft Withdrawal Agreement was “not in the British national interest” and that voting for it would “set ourselves up for failure” by surrendering “our voice, our vote and our veto”.
The MP, who campaigned for Remain, says he will vote against the plan in Parliament and that Mrs May should not rule out holding a second referendum
Father of two Mr Gyimah cites the EU’s continued wrangling over the Galileo satellite project as the deciding factor in his resignation.
Downing Street confirmed that his letter had been received and said there would be a response “in due course”.
On Friday night the Prime Minister said the UK was pulling out of the programme and may now abandon attempts to recoup the £1.2 billion Britain has already spent on the project.
Mr Gyimah says the Galileo decision should act as a “clarion call”, claiming Britain’s interests “will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come”.
“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 adds.
Mr Gyimah was a parliamentary aide to David Cameron and was eventually promoted to his position as universities and science minister at the start of the year.
As the minister responsible for Britain’s role in the Galileo project, Mr Gyimah describes the “frustrating negotiations” as “only a foretaste of what’s to come”, saying: “I have seen first-hand the EU stack the deck against us time and time again.”
Refusing to rule out supporting a second referendum, the MP for East Surrey says Mrs May’s political declaration on a future trading relationship with the EU is “a deal in name only”, pointing out: “There is a mountain to climb.”
He adds: “We shouldn’t dismiss out of hand the idea of asking the people again what future they want, as we all now have a better understanding of the potential paths before us.”
Urging the Government to take a “clear-eyed view on the strength of our position”, he says any “off-the-shelf” deal offered by the EU was likely to be “materially worse than staying in.”
Mr Gyimah also says it is wrong to rule out alternatives that merit “serious consideration”, such as extending the Article 50 deadline and “asking the people again what future they want”.