Pound tanks as four senior government figures resign over Brexit
Four key government figures have quit their roles this morning as Theresa May attempts to push through her deal for the UK's departure from the EU.
Early this morning, Northern Ireland Minister, Shailesh Vara, quit his role saying May's Brexit deal "leaves the UK in a halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally be a sovereign nation".
Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab was next to quit. On Twitter, he announced he was to standing down from his role. Esther McVey, responsible for the Department for Work and Pensions, then curled and said she was quitting her role.
But a hattrick - or more penalty - wasn't enough. Suella Braverman, Jnr Brexit Minister, then quit her position.
As May's government crumbles around her, Labour said the PM has no authority left.
In response to Mr Raab's resignation, shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: "This is now an incredibly serious situation. The Prime Minister's Brexit deal has fallen at the first hurdle."
Raab quits Cabinet over Brexit
Brexit Secretary Raab was second to resign, and the most significant Cabinet member to stand down.
In a tweet, Raab wrote: "Today, I have resigned as Brexit Secretary. I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU. Here is my letter to the PM explaining my reasons, and my enduring respect for her."
Mr Raab, who only took over in the summer after David Davis resigned in protest over the Prime Minister's withdrawal strategy, said he "cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU".
His surprise departure came amid furious backlash from Brexit-backing Tories to the deal agreed by UK and EU negotiators four months ahead of the UK's scheduled withdrawal on March 29. Raab was instrumental to the UK's departure from the EU, his responsibilities included drafting legislation for the UK ahead of Brexit.
In his resignation letter to the PM, Raab wrote: "For my part, I cannot support the proposed deal for two reasons. Firstly, I believe that the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom."
"Second, I cannot support an indefinite backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over our ability to exit. The terms of the backstop amount to a hybrid of the EU Customs Union and Single Market obligations. No democratic nation gas ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime, imposed externally without any democratic control over the laws to be applied, nor the ability to decide to exit the arrangement".
News of his resignation saw the British Pound fall heavily against most major currenciesSterling dropped 1.1% to 1.28 US dollars and was 1.2% lower at 1.13 euros.
Esther McVey quits Work and Pensions gig
Following on from Raab, Work and Pensions boss Esther McVey stood down.
In her resignation letter, she wrote: "This is a matter of trust. It is about the future of our country and the integrity of our democracy. I believed that we could still work collectively to honour the will of the British people and secure the right outcome for the future of our country. This deal fails to do so.
We have gone from no deal is better than a bad deal, to any deal is better than no deal. I cannot defend this and I cannot vote for this deal. I could not look my constituents in the eye were I to do that."
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: "The Government started Britain on a journey with no actual idea of their route or their destination. The Conservative Government is in meltdown and it's clear the Conservatives are now driving the country off a cliff.
He added: "The Tories are finally realising what we have always known. There is no way to prevent Brexit from leaving our country worse off. A People's Vote on the final Brexit deal, where they can choose to remain in the EU, is the only route out of this uncertainty. It is time people had the power to end this mess."