Five resignations and a funeral for Theresa May’s Brexit deal
As the PM faced the Commons, Andrea Leadsom looked like she had 'suffered a bereavement'.
It’s fair to say that Thursday morning did not start fantastically for Theresa May.
First Dominic Raab resigned from the cabinet, with fellow hard Brexiter Esther McVey following in his footsteps soon afterwards. A further three lesser-known ministers also stormed out of their jobs in protest at the prime minister's long-awaited Brexit deal.
At midday, the following five resignations had taken place:
Dominic Raab, secretary of state for exiting the European Union
Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions
Shailesh Vara, secretary of state for Northern Ireland
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, PPS to the education ministers
Suella Braverman, parliamentary under-secretary of state for exiting the European Union
It got worse when Nikki da Costa, director of legislative affairs Number 10, confirmed that she was fleeing the scene. A key behind-the-scenes fixer, a key part of the former lobbyist’s job was guiding the Brexit deal through Parliament.
At the same time as ministers and Number 10 staffers were deserting her, Theresa May had endure a painful Commons debate in which both sides pronounced that her deal was dead.
“This deal will not pass parliament,” said Labour’s Jack Dromey. "Why does the prime minister persist in seeking to achieve the unachievable?”
From the other side of the spectrum, European Research Group deputy leader Mark Francois savaged his leader by telling her: "It is mathematically impossible to get this deal through the Commons. The stark reality prime minister is that it was dead on arrival at St Tommys before you stood up."
And on the front bench, Brexiteer cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom was in full funeral mode...