More trouble for PM
May suffers new setback as Leadsom quits Cabinet
Andrea Leadsom ran for leader after David Cameron resigned
Theresa May’s fragile grip on power was weakened further tonight after the leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom resigned from the cabinet.
Mrs Leadsom, who may seek to succeed Mrs May as Tory leader, said she no longer believes the government’s approach will deliver Brexit.
Her role was to organise government business, but today she was a notable absentee on the front benches as Mrs May addressed MPs on her withdrawal bill. Mrs Leadsom is the 36th minister to resign under Mrs May’s leadership – 21 of them over Brexit. She ran for party leader after David Cameron resigned after the referendum in 2016.
Labour chairman Ian Lavery said: “The Prime Minister’s authority is shot and her time is up. While the Tories are ripping themselves apart, our country is in crisis. The government has made a catastrophic mess of the Brexit negotiations, our steel industry is under threat and universal credit is pushing people into poverty.
“For the sake of the country, Theresa May needs to go, and we need an immediate general election.”
Mrs May is struggling to win support for withdrawal bill despite offering a number of concessions, including a chance for MPs to hold a vote on another referendum if they back it.
In a letter to the prime minister, Mrs Leadsom – MP for South Northamptonshire – said she did not believe “the UK would be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed”.
She also described holding another referendum as “dangerously divisive”, and said she was opposed to the government “willingly facilitating such a concession”.
A second referendum would “risk undermining our Union which is something I passionately want to see strengthened”, she argued.
She also attacked the “breakdown of government processes” saying that Brexit-related legislation proposals had not been “properly scrutinised”.