Chris Heaton-Harris has become the second minister to resign in protest at Theresa May opening Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn, saying his own job was now “irrelevant”.
Mr Heaton-Harris quit the role on Wednesday, telling the PM: “I simply cannot support any further extension to Article 50 and this obviously means I cannot stay in government.”
He added: “I truly believe we should have honoured the result of the 2016 referendum” and left the EU on March 29.
In a tweet, alongside his resignation letter, he said: “After much contemplation, I have decided to leave Theresa May’s Government. I’m grateful to the PM for giving me the opportunity to serve the UK and I will continue to represent my constituents as the MP for Daventry.”
After much contemplation, I have decided to leave Theresa May’s Government. I’m grateful to the PM for giving me the opportunity to serve the UK and I will continue to represent my constituents as the MP for Daventry. pic.twitter.com/sHkVhwJ7bb— Chris Heaton-Harris (@chhcalling) April 3, 2019
He added in his letter that, as a Brexit minister, “I’ve had the responsibility of helping to coordinate our preparations for if we were to leave the European Union without a negotiated deal”.
“As I believe you know, these preparations are well advanced and whilst I would have preferred to leave the European Union with your deal, I truly believe our country would have swiftly overcome any immediate issues of leaving without a deal and gone on to thrive,” he said.
He continued: “However, I completely understand you do not want to leave the European Union without a negotiated deal and that obviously makes my job in Government irrelevant.”
As a Brexit minister he was responsible for no-deal planning. He also tells May that her determination to avoid no-deal “obviously makes my job in government irrelevant”.