LONDON—A junior British justice minister said on Tuesday, June 12, he will resign and will vote with pro-European Union politicians who want parliament to have the power to force the government to go back to the negotiating table if they reject a Brexit deal.
Phillip Lee accused the government of trying to limit parliament’s role in shaping the Britain’s departure from the EU and said the government’s Brexit strategy was detrimental to the British people.
His resignation came hours before British Prime Minister Theresa May faces crunch votes in parliament and a potential showdown with pro-EU rebels in her ruling party over whether parliament can prevent a no-deal Brexit.
I am incredibly sad to have had to announce my resignation as a minister in Her Majesty’s Government so that I can better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered. Statement to follow shortly on my website.
— Dr Phillip Lee MP (@DrPhillipLeeMP) June 12, 2018
“The main reason for my taking this decision now is the Brexit process and the government’s wish to limit parliament’s role in contributing to the final outcome in a vote that takes place today,” Lee, who voted to remain in the EU during Britain’s 2016 referendum, said on his website.
“If, in the future, I am to look my children in the eye and honestly say that I did my best for them I cannot, in all good conscience, support how our country’s exit from the EU looks set to be delivered.”
Earlier this year, Lee had called on the government to release its economic impact assessments of Brexit and suggested the government change tack in talks with the EU, underlining the deep rifts in his party over the best way to manage Britain’s exit.
By Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill