Polegate MP resigns as a Tory Party vice-chairman after Chequers Brexit deal

Maria Caulfield MP in the House of Commons
Maria Caulfield MP in the House of Commons

Polegate’s MP has resigned as a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party over the Brexit plan agreed at Chequers last week, according to national reports.

Maria Caulfield, who was first elected in 2015 and backed the Leave campaign, told Prime Minister Theresa May in a letter she could not support the direction of travel in the Brexit negotiations.

She argued it did not ‘fully embrace the opportunities that Brexit can provide’. She described how a Northern Ireland backstop agreement was neither necessary or constructive for the future prosperity of the UK and had been used by the EU as a way of blocking a mutually beneficial deal.

She added: “This policy may assuage vested interests but the voters will find out and their representatives will be found out.

“This policy will be bad for our country and bad for our party. The direct consequences of that will be Prime Minister Corbyn.

“Since the announcement on Friday my constituents, whether they voted leave or remain, have contacted me in large numbers to say they do not support the deal and it would therefore be more appropriate to have a vice-chairman who can confidently defend the proposal.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity of being the vice-chairman for women, especially during the centenary year of suffrage.”

Her resignation, made on the same day as Ben Bradley also stepped down as a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, follows a number of high-profile departures from Mrs May’s Government.

David Davis quit as Brexit Secretary on Sunday and was replaced by Dominic Raab. Then Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary on Monday, with Jeremy Hunt succeeding him. Matt Hancock, formerly Culture Secretary, will take over from Mr Hunt as Health Secretary.