Universities Minister resigns over May’s Brexit deal

Sam Gyimah announced yesterday that he would be resigning as cabinet minister for universities and science because he ‘cannot support’ the government’s Brexit deal. The conservative MP’s departure makes him the seventh minister to leave as a result of Theresa May’s proposed deal. Although previously a vocal backer of May’s leadership, Gyimah’s resignation statement described the current Withdrawal Agreement as ‘naïve’, warning that Britain would be surrendering ‘our voice, our vote and our veto’.

In the statement (posted to his Facebook page at roughly 11pm on Friday), Gyimah clearly explains his misgivings regarding May’s deal, stating that ‘it has become increasingly clear to me that the proposed deal is not in the British national interest, and that to vote for this deal is to set ourselves up for failure. We will be losing, not taking control of our national destiny.’ Speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Gyimah criticised the deal further: ‘looking at the deal in detail, we don’t actually have a deal. We have a deal in name only’.

As the 29th of March looms ever nearer, it is increasingly difficult to envision what alternatives to May’s Brexit deal might be achievable in such a limited timeframe. Upon his rejection of the agreement, Gyimah has suggested a second referendum as a potential solution to the UK’s troublesome predicament.

In his resignation statement, Gyimah suggests that ‘we shouldn’t dismiss out of hand the idea of asking the people again what future they want, as we all now have a better understanding of the potential paths before us.’ Elaborating on BBC Radio 4 this morning, Gyimah told the Today programme, ‘There is a blocking minority in the House of Commons for almost every possible option which means that letting the people decide, now that we know more, might be the most sensible path for both leavers and remainers.’

MP Justine Greening (fellow former-minister and supporter of the People’s Vote campaign), gave comment on Gyimah’s resignation, saying ‘Like many MPs, he has recognised the huge shortcomings of the prime minister’s deal and the need to find an alternative path forward for Britain.’


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Lizzy Mossman

March 2021
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