Pressure piles on May to resign as Andrea Leadsom quits Cabinet over Brexit bill

Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom leaves the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom leaves the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Picture: Yui Mok/PA Wire
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Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom has resigned from the Government with a “heavy heart”, saying she no longer believes its Brexit approach will deliver on the referendum result.

Mrs Leadsom said she was “proud” to have served in Theresa May’s Government since 2016, and had stayed in the Cabinet to “shape and fight for Brexit” despite some “uncomfortable compromises along the way”.

But she said: “I no longer believe that our approach will deliver on the referendum result.”

Mrs Leadsom said she did not believe that the UK will be “truly sovereign” through the deal proposed, and said a second referendum would be “dangerously divisive”.

She also said there had been “such a breakdown of government processes that recent Brexit-related legislative proposals have not been properly scrutinised or approved by Cabinet members”.

And Mrs Leadsom added: “The tolerance to those in Cabinet who have advocated policies contrary to the Government’s position has led to a complete breakdown of collective responsibility.”

Mrs Leadsom, a leading Brexiteer in the Cabinet, said she resigned ahead of Thursday’s Business Statement to the Commons because she felt she could not announce a Bill with “new elements that I fundamentally oppose”.

“I fully respect the integrity, resolution and determination that you have shown during your time as Prime Minister,” she wrote.

“No one has wanted you to succeed more than I have, but I do now urge you to make the right decisions in the interests of the country, this Government and our party.”

Mrs Leadsom was one of a number of Brexit-supporting colleagues in the so-called Pizza Club who were absent for the start of Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

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