Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Raab Resigns as Britain's Brexit Minister

Raab Resigns as Britain's Brexit Minister

Two British Cabinet ministers, including Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, resigned Thursday in opposition to the divorce deal struck by Prime Minister Theresa May with the European Union - a major blow to her authority and her ability to get the deal through Parliament. "I believe this is a deal which does deliver that, which is in the national interest and am I going to see this through".

May told MPs: "Delivering Brexit involves hard choices for all of us".

"Faced with a bad deal and a catastrophic no deal, the British public must be given the final say, with staying in the European Union an option on the ballot paper".

With her party in revolt, her colleagues departing - some determined to usher her out of office - we can't, and don't know yet, if Brexit can happen as planned, perhaps, if at all.

The draft, which was initially backed by May's Cabinet, is now heading to the European Union for approval.

A still image from video footage shows Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May speaking about Brexit, in the House of Commons, in London, Britain, Nov. 15, 2018.

Jacob Rees-Mogg was among a string of MPs, including former Brexit minister Steve Baker, who revealed they had now submitted such letters to the chairman of the backbench 1922 Committee.

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"Above all, I can not reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto at the last election", Raab said.

"And the alternative of repudiating that backstop would not only mean reneging on a promise to the people of Northern Ireland but it would also collapse the negotiations and end hopes of securing a deal".

Ester McVey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, has resigned from her post in protest at May's Brexit plan.

"My Right Honorable Friend, and she is unquestionably honorable, said that we would leave the customs union. annex 2 says otherwise", Rees-Mogg said in the Commons, challenging how May had presented the deal.

Amid the political turmoil, the pound plunged on currency markets, falling 1.7 percent to $1.27, its second biggest drop after it fell 1.73 percent against the USA dollar in September.

More than two years after the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU, May told reporters outside her Downing Street residence that she had won over her divided cabinet, which includes some senior Brexiteers.

On Thursday, EU chief Donald Tusk called for a summit of leaders to take place on November 25 so they can rubber-stamp the draft deal reached by officials earlier this week.

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With both the Labour Party and the Northern Ireland MPs propping up her government also unhappy with the deal, an eventual vote in the Commons - if it even comes to that - could bring the entire thing down, taking May's premiership with it.

She will set out the terms of the agreement to the chamber, which must approve the deal before Brexit day on March 29.

The voices from her own party offering muted support were drowned out by fierce criticism from backbenchers who expressed concern about the deal, and openly questioned whether May was fit to continue leading the party.

Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said May should withdraw the "half-baked" Brexit deal and that Parliament "cannot and will not accept a false choice between this deal and no deal".

Ian Blackford, who heads the Scottish National Party in Parliament, said the deal was "dead on arrival" and urged May to stop the countdown clock to Britain's exit, less than five months away. And as I say remarkably it leaves us in a weaker position than we were before we started. "Stop the clock and go back to Brussels".

"As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us", said Mr Tusk.

European newspapers unconvinced that the Brexit deal will stick.

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Allies of Theresa May have launched a desperate bid to woo rebel Tory MPs by floating the prospect of a better deal on Brexit, HuffPost UK has learned.

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