‘May’s deal a false choice’
The seventh minister to resign over Brexit since Theresa May unveiled her agreement with the EU has called the deal a “false choice”.
Sam Gyimah, 42, quit as the universities and science minister on Friday night after the prime minister confirmed the UK was pulling out of the Galileo satellite-navigation project.
A long-time supporter of Mrs May, the Remainer MP for East Surrey, which voted to leave, said he could not carry on in good conscience knowing that her offer is not a deal, but rather “where we hope to land”.
He told Sky News: “We haven’t, after two years, decided on the big issues.
“All the big questions are still in play so we’re not at the end of the process, we’re at the beginning.
“What has been presented as a deal is actually where we hope to land – I don’t think that’s credible.”
The Oxford-educated MP, tipped as a possible successor to Mrs May, said other options need to be looked at to ensure the UK gets the best deal.
He said: “I think the prime minister could take the deal back to the country and she could put her deal alongside a number of other options to the country, which could break the log jam [in parliament].
“But how I looked at it, this is the biggest vote possibly in my political career and I’ve got to vote in the way I think is right and that is in the national interest – and it’s for everyone to do the same, to get to the other side.
“There are other options that we need to think about rather than focus on the false choice which is being posed, which is: the prime minister’s deal or chaos.”
Mr Gyimah, who worked for David Cameron when he put forward the EU referendum, said if parliament ends up in a deadlock over voting on Mrs May’s deal on 11 December, a second referendum – a “people’s vote” – should take place.
“If parliament is deadlocked we shouldn’t rule out letting the people decide, and I think that’s in the interest of both Leavers and Remainers,” he said.
“That doesn’t delegitimise the first referendum. We all know more now about the EU today than we did then.
“In a new referendum we would also know more about the terms of departure.
“If parliament is deadlocked this could be a way out of it.”
Mrs May has continually insisted that any alternatives to her deal would leave the UK worse off.
Sky News political correspondent Tom Rayner said: “Mr Gyimah was an early advocate of Mrs May’s leadership campaign, he’s been very loyal, as a minister, to the party.
“When you hear language he was using, saying the prime minister was offering a ‘false choice’ – he didn’t quite say it but he’s getting dangerously close to saying Mrs May is misleading the public.
“He’s saying Mrs May has signed away all leverage and this is not the end but the beginning.”