November 15, 2018 / 10:15 AM / a month ago

Britain's work and pensions minister McVey quits over Brexit deal

Britain's Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey leaves 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s work and pensions minister Esther McVey quit Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet, the second senior minister to resign on Thursday over a Brexit deal agreed between London and Brussels.

“The deal you put before the Cabinet yesterday does not honour the result of the referendum”, McVey wrote in a letter to May, joining Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab in quitting over May’s draft Brexit deal.

May gained collective but not unanimous approval for her Brexit plan from senior ministers on Wednesday, and McVey said that the withdrawal agreement was not what Britons voted for when they chose to leave the European Union in 2016.

“It will be no good trying to pretend to (Britons) that this deal honours the result of the referendum when it is obvious to everyone it doesn’t,” she wrote.

“The proposals put before Cabinet, which will soon be judged by the entire country, means handing over around 39 billion pounds to the EU without anything in return... We have gone from no deal is better than a bad deal, to any deal is better than no deal.”

The resignations of the senior ministers thrust the United Kingdom into a political crisis just as May was attempting to garner support for a Brexit deal which her opponents have warned could sink her premiership.

Reporting by Costas Pitas, Sarah Young and Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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