Commons leader Andrea Leadsom quits government over Brexit

Andrea Leadsom Image copyright EPA Image caption As Commons Leader, Andrea Leadsom was in charge of organising government business

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has quit the cabinet, saying she no longer believes the government’s approach will deliver Brexit.

Her resignation comes amid a backlash against Theresa May’s Brexit plan from Conservative MPs.

Several cabinet ministers have told the BBC that the PM cannot stay, with one saying it is “the end of the line”.

A Downing Street statement expressed disappointment, adding that Mrs Leadsom had “served with distinction”.

A spokesman said the prime minister was “focused on delivering Brexit”.

Mrs Leadsom previously ran for Tory leader but withdrew, clearing the path for Mrs May to become prime minister.

As Commons leader, she was in charge of organising government business and had been due to announce when the prime minister’s Withdrawal Agreement Bill would be introduced to Parliament.

Her resignation is the 36th by a minister under Theresa May – 21 of them over Brexit – and comes a day before the UK votes in the European elections.

The move came after a day of drama at Westminster in which anger grew at the prime minister’s attempt to win backing for the bill – the legislation needed to implement the agreement between the UK and EU on the terms of Brexit.

As part of it, Mrs May has offered a number of changes, including a chance for MPs to hold a vote on another referendum if they back the bill.

Skip Twitter post by @andrealeadsom

It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the Government.

— Andrea Leadsom MP (@andrealeadsom) May 22, 2019


End of Twitter post by @andrealeadsom

In a letter to the prime minister, Mrs Leadsom – MP for South Northamptonshire – said she did not believe “the UK would be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed”.

She also described holding another referendum as “dangerously divisive”, and said she was opposed to the government “willingly facilitating such a concession”.

Another referendum would “risk undermining our Union which is something I passionately want to see strengthened”, she said.

She also attacked the “breakdown of government processes”, saying that Brexit-related legislation proposals had not been “properly scrutinised”.

She concluded her letter by paying tribute to “the integrity, resolution and determination”

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