LONDON – Ester McVey, the secretary of state for work and pensions, has resigned from her post in protest at May’s Brexit plan.
The minister joined Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab in stepping down on Thursday in a joint blow to Theresa May’s authority which raises the prospect of several more imminent Cabinet resignations.
In a letter to the prime minister, she said: “I cannot defend this and I cannot vote for this deal I could not look my constituents in the eye were I to do that. I therefore have no alternative but to resign from the government.”
McVey and Raab’s resignations followed a gruelling five-hour Cabinet meeting yesterday at which the prime minister sought to persuade sceptical ministers to support her deal and sell it to backbench MPs. While she claimed yesterday that she had won the support of Cabinet, at least 10 senior ministers were known to retain deep reservations over her draft exit plan.
Earlier this morning I informed the Prime Minister I was resigning from her Cabinet pic.twitter.com/ZeBkL5n2xH
— Esther McVey (@EstherMcVey1) November 15, 2018
There are growing suggestions that Conservative backbenchers will imminently move to force a no-confidence vote against her, and those MPs will be emboldened by the resignation of such a senior Brexit-supporting minister.
This is a developing story.