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Theresa May hit by fresh resignation over Brexit plans

2 min read

Theresa May has been hit by a fresh resignation, as ministerial aide Robert Courts said he "cannot support" the Government's Brexit plans.

Mr Courts - who succeeded David Cameron as MP for Witney - announced he was quitting as a parliamentary private secretary in the Foreign Office on the eve of an expected Tory rebellion in the Commons.

He wrote on Twitter: "I have taken very difficult decision to resign position as PPS to express discontent with #Chequers in votes tomorrow.

He added: "I had to think who I wanted to see in the mirror for the rest of my life. I cannot tell the people of WOxon that I support the proposals in their current form."

The latest exit tops off a dramatic week in which Mrs May lost senior Cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and David Davis, Brexit minister Steve Baker and a string of ministerial aides over her controversial white paper on leaving the EU.

Mr Courts' departure comes as eurosceptic Tory rebels tee up amendments to a key Brexit bill which heads to the House of Commons on Monday, in the hope of forcing a u-turn on the Prime Minister.

The rebels, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, are up in arms over plans to maintain a common rulebook with the EU on traded goods, as well as Mrs May's bid to closely align customs rules with Brussels through a ‘EU-UK free-trade area’.

On Sunday the Prime Minister insisted that the white paper Brexit on Brexit represented a "good deal for the UK” and urged Eurosceptics to keep their "eyes on the prize" of leaving the EU.

On the prospect of defeat on the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Bill, she warned: "If we don't see that trade bill through then something like 40 agreements that the EU has with various countries around the world won't be able to be continued when the UK leaves the EU for us as a United Kingdom."

Mrs May added: “Let's just keep our eyes on the prize here. The prize is delivering leaving the European Union in a way that's in our national interest."

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