May warns of PM Corbyn amid resignations

Andrew Woodcock
Theresa May's tough week has continued with the resignation of two more Conservative MPs

British prime minister Theresa May has been hit by more resignations over her Brexit policy, as two Conservative vice-chairs quit over their opposition to her plans for Britain's future relations with the EU.

Ben Bradley and Maria Caulfield warn that May's plans for close links with Europe after Brexit risk handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to 10 Downing Street.

Their resignations came after May chaired the first meeting of her new cabinet following the departure of Boris Johnson and David Davis.

They were announced less than an hour before May was due to face the press alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel at an international summit in London.

In her resignation letter, Caulfield warned that May's policy "may assuage vested interests, but the voters will find out and their representatives will be found out".

"This policy will be bad for our country and bad for the party," said the Lewes MP. "The direct consequences of that will be Prime Minister Corbyn."

Bradley said that the Brexit plan agreed by the Cabinet last week at Chequers would damage the UK's opportunities to develop global trade and be "an outward-looking nation in control of our own destiny" following Brexit.

"Being tied to EU regulations and the EU tying our hands when seeking to make new trade agreements will be the worst of all worlds," wrote the Mansfield MP, who voted remain in a constituency where more than 70 per cent of voters opted to leave.

"If we do not deliver Brexit in spirit as well as in name, then we are handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to No.10."

Earlier in the day, Mrs May was bolstered by the support of senior Brexiteers in her Cabinet.

Michael Gove left no doubt that he would not follow Boris Johnson and David Davis out of the Cabinet, declaring that he backed the Prime Minister's plans "100 per cent".

International trade secretary Liam Fox was seen to shake his head and mouth the word "no" when reporters asked him on his way out of cabinet whether he was about to quit.

Jeremy Hunt, appointed foreign secretary as May carried out a hurried reshuffle of her top team, vowed that he would be "four square" behind her in driving through her Brexit plan.

Gove told ITV he was "absolutely not" planning to resign.

Asked whether May was in trouble following the rash of departures from her government on Monday, he replied: "No."