Universities minister resigns over May’s Brexit deal

Sam Gyimah has pledged to vote against deal, backed calls for second referendum

Universities minister resigns over May’s Brexit deal

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, has become the seventh minister to resign from the U.K. government in protest to the Brexit deal proposed by the prime minister.

“After careful reflection, I will not be supporting the Government on the EU Withdrawal Agreement. As such, I have tended my resignation as Universities & Science Minister,” Gyimah said in a statement on Twitter and Facebook.  

Gyimah has also backed calls for a second referendum, arguing that Theresa May’s deal would mean a loss for British sovereignty and losing its voice in the EU. 

In an article he wrote for the Daily Telegraph Gyimah said: “In these protracted negotiations, our 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 has become increasingly clear to me that the proposed deal is not in the British national interest, and that to vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control of our national destiny,” he added. 

Former Brexit secretaries David Davis and Dominic Raab, former foreign secretary Boris Johnson and most recently his brother Jo Johnson also resigned from the Cabinet.

Gyimah’s calls for a ‘People’s Vote’ will give a boost to pro-EU Tory MPs who are campaigning for a second referendum on the Brexit deal. Gyimah will have become the second Tory MP to have called for a second referendum in less than a month after Jo Johnson backed the call. 

“There is a blocking minority in the House of Commons for almost every possible option which means that letting the people decide, now that we know more, might be the most sensible path for both leavers and remainers,” Gyimah said in an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on Saturday. 

“The prime minister has already taken one step in that direction by appealing to the country to put pressure on MPs to vote for her deal” he added. 

The universities minister’s resignation has dealt a fresh blow to the already embattled prime minister who is struggling to convince MPs from within her party and the opposition to back her deal. 

The opposition Labour party has said that it will vote against the deal as have 90 other Tory MPs. Most importantly, however, the DUP, on whom May depends on passing legislation through parliament, has said that they will vote down the deal and reconsider the ‘confidence and supply’ arrangement that props up May’s government.