UK's Brexit secretary resigns over European Union deal

"It is my job as prime minister to explain the decisions that the government has taken and I stand ready to do that beginning tomorrow with a statement in parliament".

Speaking to the press in Brussels, the European council president made no secret of the fact that he still doesn't "share the Prime Minister's enthusiasm about Brexit".

Raab, along with Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara and British minister Esther McVey, brought the number of resignations from May's government since last November to 17, nine of which have been related to her approach to Brexit.

Vince Cable, the leader of the minority Liberal Democrats, said May's government was in meltdown. May can be toppled if 158 of her 315 lawmakers vote against her.

No.10 sources stress that while the legal Withdrawal Agreement is unlikely to be changed, the outline "political declaration" that accompanies it is clearly up for further negotiation.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May says a draft Brexit deal delivers on the result of the 2016 referendum. The government is in chaos.

In an evening news conference aimed at regaining some control, May said she believed "with every fiber of my being that the course I have set out is the right one for our country and all our people".

The centrist Dutch daily, NRC Handelsblad, wrote: "The Brexit deal is brittle and unclear". "This half-baked Brexit deal fails Labour's six tests, will be a disaster for our country and puts jobs, rights, and living standards at risk".

In quitting the cabinet, Mr Raab said he believed the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presented a "very real threat" to the United Kingdom's integrity.

That pressure continued in the House of Commons Thursday, where May defended the deal in the face of anger from both opposition and Tory backbenchers.

The draft agreement of more than 400 pages is understood to involve the United Kingdom remaining in a customs union and committing to a "level playing field" on EU rules in areas like environmental and workplace protections during a backstop period after Brexit.

"The chances of a second vote have certainly increased, but we need to remember that both leaders of Britain's two main parties [Conservative and Labour] remain opposed to one and the idea still does not command majority support among the population at large", he said.

When you strip away the detail, the choice before us is clear. "This deal", she concluded.

Ranil Jayawardena, parliamentary private secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, wrote in his resignation letter that the draft deal is not fair to those who voted to leave the European Union "taking back control of our laws, our borders and our money. Only if, and the end of transition extended or not, we are still not there with the future agreement would the backstop decision agreed today kick in".

The sensitivities over the Irish border remain, with Northern Ireland's ruling DUP party insisting it must not become a catalyst for illegal activity nor an incentive for those wishing to undermine the peace process. She has taken a pragmatic approach which acknowledges that, after 50 years, Britain is inextricably bound to the European Union economy and also the European Union is not as bad as British jingoist tabloids paint it.

It also includes a so-called divorce bill which would see Britain paying around 50 billion USA dollars to Brussels.

Raab's resignation "is a major blow for May. with her position now growing increasingly tenuous", Cheetham warned. No-confidence Move Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, a hardline pro-Brexiteer, requested a vote of no-confidence in PM May.

More disruptive still would be a Commons-wide vote of no confidence, which could trigger a general election.

Irish premier Leo Varadkar said the draft deal could provide the basis for a summit of European Union leaders by the end of the month, potentially on November 25. "But between the warring factions inside her party and the hardline [Democratic Unionist Party], May can not get her deal through parliament", the petition notes.

With just weeks left before Brexit date, May still managed to get the 585-page compromise past her divided cabinet yesterday, clearing just one of several hurdles before it can be approved.

  • Zachary Reyes