Even Leave-voting Tory MPs have had enough of Theresa May’s Brexit strategy now

Tilly Grove

Theresa May’s plans for Brexit just received another blow. On 4 November, Conservative MP Stephen Phillips, who voted ‘Leave’ in the referendum, resigned due to “significant policy differences”.

The roots of the disagreement

The MP has criticised May in the past for opposing MPs who want to discuss events after Article 50 is triggered. At the Conservative Party Conference in October 2016, May said of MPs who want the discussion:

They’re not trying to get Brexit right. They’re trying to kill it by delaying it. They are insulting the intelligence of the British people.

At the time, Phillips responded:

I and many others did not exercise our vote in the referendum so as to restore the sovereignty of this parliament only to see what we regarded as the tyranny of the European Union replaced by that of a government that apparently wishes to ignore the views of the house on the most important issue facing the nation.

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, he wrote:

although the government may have a mandate for Brexit, it has no mandate at all for what it should look like.

Final straw

The government’s response to the High Court ruling may have been the last straw for Phillips.

On 3 November, judges ruled that parliament would need to discuss the Brexit package before triggering Article 50. According to Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade, the government was “disappointed” by the decision. It is now planning to appeal to the Supreme Court.

It has been suggested that Phillips, a barrister himself, may disapprove of this course of action.

In his resignation letter, Phillips stated:

It has become clear to me over the last few months that my growing and very significant policy differences with the current government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me.

A Downing Street source suggested that Phillips is not acting as “part of a movement“. Whether this is true or not, his resignation will be a cause for concern for May and her government. If she can’t keep her own MPs on side, what hope is there for creating a Brexit strategy that will appease everyone else?

Get Involved!

– Read the rest of The Canary’s Brexit coverage here.

Featured image via Yanni Koutsomitis / UK Home Office

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed