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Public health minister resigns over no-deal Brexit fears

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Public health minister Steve Brine has resigned from the government after opting to support a Commons’ amendment for a series of indicative votes over Brexit.

In his resignation letter to prime minister Theresa May yesterday, Mr Brine said the UK leaving the European Union without a withdrawal agreement “is not acceptable to me or in the national interest”.

The MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford added that though he had supported the prime ministers draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, it is now a “tall order for it to pass” and the best way to achieve agreement in the Commons is through a series of indicative votes, as detailed in the cross-party amendment by Oliver Letwin (Con) passed by a majority of 27 votes last night.

“At this stage of the endgame of Brexit process, I was not prepared to vote against that (or another amendment which again makes clear our wish to avoid no deal) so the honourable thing was to leave the government tonight and vote accordingly,” he wrote.

Mr Brine, was one of three ministers to resign last night with business minister Richard Harrington and foreign officer minister Alistair Burt also standing down. Mr Brine said he “cherished and enjoyed” the role of public health minister and vowed to “carry on some of that work from the backbenches”. 

Mr Brine was appointed minister for public health and primary care in June 2017.

Last week he told the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Public Health annual conference that public health directors should sit at the top table within councils and report directly to chief executives.



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