As it happenedended1542317820

Brexit deal: Theresa May defends EU agreement in press conference after flurry of cabinet resignations

MPs react to May's statement and ministerial resignations

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
,Lizzy Buchan,Benjamin Kentish
Thursday 15 November 2018 22:36
Brexit deal: Theresa May's draft withdrawal agreement explained

Theresa May has been forced to defend her Brexit plan to MPs just moments after cabinet ministers Dominic Raab and Esther McVey dealt her authority a major blow by resigning from the government.

The prime minister secured the uneasy support of her cabinet for the draft deal with Brussels after a stormy five-hour meeting on Wednesday night.

Ms May also faces the growing prospect of a vote of no confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party, as MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg, began publishing their letters sent to the party's 1922 committee - calling for the PM to step down.

See below for updates as they happened


Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of everything Brexit.

Adam Withnall15 November 2018 09:27

  ↵ Theresa May is already facing crises on numerous fronts, the first being the threat of a raft of resignations after Brexit secretary Dominic Raab quit on Thursday morning. 

Adam Withnall15 November 2018 09:28

Here's the latest on Dominic Raab's resignation:

Adam Withnall15 November 2018 09:28

The pound fell heavily against most major currencies after Mr Raab's resignation. Sterling dropped 1.1% to 1.28 US dollars and was 1.2% lower at 1.13 euros.

Lizzy Buchan15 November 2018 09:42

Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara has quit the government in protest at Theresa May‘s Brexit deal, which he claimed would leave the UK in a “half-way house” outside the EU.

More here: 

Lizzy Buchan15 November 2018 09:46

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab has resigned from Theresa May's government within hours of her cabinet approving an agreement to leave the EU.

Announcing his departure on Twitter, he said: "Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU."

Mr Raab's dramatic resignation will plunge Ms May's leadership into fresh crisis, and comes less than an hour after Northern Ireland minister Shailesh Vara also decided to quit in protest at her Brexit deal.

It also follows widespread speculation that furious Conservative MPs could topple Ms May by submitting enough letters of no-confidence to trigger a leadership challenge.

In his resignation letter, Mr Raab said: "I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. First, I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom.

"Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit. The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU customs union and single market obligations.

"No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide the exit arrangement.

Ashley Cowburn15 November 2018 09:55
Ashley Cowburn15 November 2018 10:00

Ashley Cowburn15 November 2018 10:04

Considering we're on resignation watch this morning - after two cabinet ministers have resigned from the government over Theresa May's deal - this is raising many eyebrows in Westminster. 

Ashley Cowburn15 November 2018 10:07
Ashley Cowburn15 November 2018 10:09

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