READ IN FULL: Shailesh Vara's resignation letter to Theresa May over 'half-way house' Brexit deal
Read the first resignation letter to Theresa May over her Brexit deal as Northern Ireland Office Minister Shailesh Vara quit.
Dear Prime Minister,
I write to offer my resignation as a Minister in your Government. I do so with sadness but I cannot supoort the Withdrawal Agreement that has been agreed with the European Union.
The EU Referendum offered a simple choice - to either stay in or leave the EU.
The result was decisive with the UK public voting to leave and that is what we, their elected representatives, must deliver.
The Agreement put forward however, does not do that as it leaves the UK in a half-way house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation.
Given the past performance of the EU, there is every possibility that the UK-EU trade deal that we seek will take years to conclude. We will be locked in a Customs Arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say. Worse, we will not be free to leave the Customs Arrangement uniltaterally if we wish to do so. Northern Ireland in the meantime will be subject to a different relationship with the EU from the rest of the UK and whilst I agree there should be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, the economic and constitutional integrity of the UNited Kingdom must be respected.
With respect Prime Minister, this Agreement does not provide for the the United Kingdom being a sovereign, independent country leaving the shackles of the EU, however it is worded.
We are a proud nation and it is a sad day when we are reduced to obeying rules made by other countries who have shown that they do not have our best interests at heart. We can and must do better than this. The people of the UK deserve better. That is why I cannot support this agreement.
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as a Minister in the Northern Ireland Office and I leave with the fondest of memories.