British Ministers Quit Government In Row Over Draft Brexit Deal. Brexit: Dominic Raab and Esther McVey among ministers to quit over EU agreement

British Ministers Quit Government In Row Over Draft Brexit Deal…

Updated at 6:25 a.m. ET on Thursday

Hours after British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a tentative deal charting the U.K.’s exit from the European Union and assuring the public that her Cabinet supported it, two key ministers abruptly quit her government in protest over the proposed pact.

The first to call it quits was Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who said in a letter of resignation that he could not, “in good conscience,” support the draft deal. Not long after, Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey followed suit.

Their departure, and the exit of two other junior ministers, deals a serious blow to May, whose political survival is closely linked to Brexit.

After the resignations, May appeared in the House of Commons to defend the deal. but said her government is continuing to prepare for a no-deal exit, should it be necessary.

“Mr. Speaker, what we agreed yesterday was not the final deal,” she said to jeers from the opposition.

“It is a draft deal that means we will leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way on the 29 of March 2019,” May said to loud laughter. “And which sets the framework for a future relationship deliver in our national interest.”

“We have been preparing for no-deal and we continue to prepare for no-deal because I recognize that we have a further stage of negotiation with the European council and then that deal when finalized … has to come back to this House,” she told lawmakers.

That said, the deal has the backing of many EU members too — including the taoiseach (prime minister) of the Republic of Ireland, Leo Varadkar. He praised the agreement as “a very solid step on the journey.”

EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier described the deal in similar terms when speaking to reporters in Brussels. “I have the feeling that we have taken a very decisive, and fundamental step today towards an orderly withdrawal,” he said.

CorrectionNov. 14, 2018

A previous version of this story incorrectly spelled Leo Varadkar’s last name as Veradkar.

https://www.npr.org/2018/11/14/667910430/draft-brexit-deal-clears-first-hurdle-with-cabinet-support