Mrs Leadsom published her resignation letter on Twitter, where she said her decision to quit as Leader of the House comes with “great regret”. She wrote on the social media platform: “It is with great regret and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from the Government.” The Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire said she is “proud” of her work done in the past three years as a member of the Government.
But in her letter to the Prime Minister, the former Leader of the House set out in four points why she “no longer believes” in the Brexit strategy relentlessly being defended by Mrs May.
Mrs Leadsom hit out at the “compromises” agreed upon by Mrs May during the Brexit talks with the European Union and, in the past few months, with members of the Parliament, saying: “I stayed in Cabinet to shape and fight for Brexit.
“There have been some uncomfortable compromises along the way, but you have had my determined support and loyalty in your efforts to deliver Brexit as our shared goal.”
Mrs Leadsom then proceeded to explain the reasons why she “cannot fulfil my duty as Leader of the House tomorrow”.
She wrote: “I do not believe that we will be a truly sovereign United Kingdom through the deal that is now proposed.
“I have always maintained that a second referendum would be dangerously divisive, and I do not support the Government willingly facilitating such a concession.
“It would also risk undermining our Union, which is something I passionately want to see strenthened.
“There has been such a breakdown of Government processes that recent Brexit-related legislative proposals have not been properly scrutinised or approved by Cabinet members.
“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.”
The timing of Mrs Leadsom’s resignations is particularly significative, as it throws Cabinet into chaos just hours before the Leader of the House was due to announce the revamped Withdrawal Agreement Bill.
Mrs May announced in an article published by the Sunday Times over the weekend she would make a “bold offer” to MPs in a bid to see her deal through Parliament in June.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister offered MPs a vote on the second referendum if they backed her Bill – an option Mrs Leadsom opposes to.
The former Cabinet member, formally blocking the Commons process of tabling the Bill until the Prime Minister appoints someone to replace her, wrote: “I know there are important elections tomorrow, and many Conservatives have worked hard to support our excellent candidates.
“I considered carefully the timing of this decision, but I cannot fulfil my duty as Leader of the House tomorrow, to announce a Bill with new elements that I fundamentally oppose.”