Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom said she was resigning because she did not believe May’s Brexit plan delivered on voters’ decision to leave the European Union.
Ms May is battling to stay in office amid demands she resign over Britain’s stalled departure from the bloc.
Ms Leadsom has been a strong pro-Brexit force in the government.
She delivered a stinging resignation letter to Ms May, signed in turquoise ink — the colour of the Brexit Party.
She lashed Ms May for “uncomfortable compromises” and said she was “fundamentally opposed” to the latest bill.
The resignation comes just a day before the European elections, which the UK is embarrassingly taking place despite the Brexit vote — because of a six month delay to Brexit until October 31 this year.
Downing Street published a statement expressing disappointment with Ms Leadsom’s decision which said she had “served with distinction”.
A spokesman said the prime minister was “focused on delivering Brexit”.
It’s been a chaotic day at Westminster after anger flared over the prime minister’s attempt to win backing for her Withdrawal Agreement Bill — a deal with the EU to ensure the UK leaves the bloc in an orderly fashion.
That bill has already been rejected by parliament three times. A compromise with Labor has also failed.
Ms May promised to hold a vote on whether to hold a second referendum on Brexit — previously considered unthinkable — if the bill was passed.
It comes as Nigel Farage, the Brexit party leader who helped orchestrate the shock vote on the UK leaving the EU, was trapped on a bus surrounded by angry protesters wielding milkshakes.
Mr Farage was reportedly forced to seek refuge on his campaign bus after being stalked by milkshake-carrying people in Kent.
He was doused in a banana and salted caramel milkshake after making a speech in Newcastle on Monday.
Three young men wearing balaclavas were spotted by a supporter in Rochester today, with Mr Farage told to stay on the bus.
Michael Bolton, told the Kent Live website: “There are a couple of guys standing over there with milkshakes, they were going to throw them over him. But the police are there, we’ve spotted them and now Nigel isn’t getting off the bus.”
The former leader of the English Defence League, a far-right group, Tommy Robinson and the Ukip MEP candidate Carl Benjamin have also been “milkshaked” by protesters.
Fast-food chain Burger King came under fire after appearing to endorse throwing milkshakes on political opponents over the weekend.
“Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun,” the chain said in a tweet.
After backlash the chain clarified saying: “We’d never endorse violence – or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people.”
Police ordered a McDonald’s near a Nigel Farage rally in Edinburgh to stop selling milkshakes and ice cream over fear fears protesters would launch them at the Brexit Party leader.
There is widespread anger after British Steel, the country’s second largest steel producer, collapsed and put 25,000 jobs at risk.
The collapse, partly blamed on Brexit, took place after the company failed to secure emergency government funding.
Owned by investment firm Greybull Capital, British Steel employs around 5000 people, mostly in Scunthorpe, while 20,000 more depend on its supply chain.
Greybull Capital, which specialises in trying to turn around distressed businesses, said it had tried to keep British Steel alive but the challenges of Britain’s looming exit from the EU proved insurmountable.
Greybull paid former owners Tata Steel a nominal one pound for the company three years ago.
After being renamed as British Steel, the company made a profit in 2017 but cut around 400 jobs last year, blaming factors such as the weak pound and uncertainties surrounding Brexit, which it said hammered its order book.
British Prime Minister Theresa May must have thought her situation couldn’t possibly get any worse.
But instead of finding a lifeline with her dramatic new Brexit pitch, she may face another coup attempt — possibly as early as today — after furious MPs from her Conservative Party rejected the revised deal.
The changes, announced last night, were in themselves a last-ditch attempt to get the Brexit-enabling legislation through the bitterly divided House of Commons.
Mrs May has already promised she would leave “the job I love” if the deal was approved and the UK left the European Union.
British voters narrowly supported leaving in a 2016 referendum, but the form Brexit took was never certain, and it has been plagued by delays and indecision culminating in the deal the prime minister struck with the EU being rejected three times by parliament and the leave date of March 29 extended until October.
The revised deal offered a vote on a second referendum and closer trading arrangements with the EU — that fell short of a formal customs union — but failed to win over Labour MPs and backbenchers in Mrs May’s own party.
British media are reporting that politicians from across the spectrum warned the deal was doomed.
The prime minister appealed to MPs to get behind her Withdrawal Agreement Bill, but instead faced a wave of criticism.
“We are being asked to vote for a customs union and a second referendum,” Boris Johnson, the bookies favourite to be Britain’s next prime minister, said. “The Bill is directly against our manifesto — and I will not vote for it. We can and must do better — and deliver what the people voted for.”
The deadlock in London means it is unclear how, when or even if Britain will leave the EU. The current deadline to leave is October 31.
The world’s fifth-largest economy faces an array of options, including an exit with a deal to smooth the transition, a “no-deal” exit, an election or a second referendum.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party could not vote for the Withdrawal Bill, describing Mrs May’s new offer as “largely a rehash of the government’s position” in talks with the opposition that broke down last week
“It’s far too weak. It doesn’t really offer anything new or anything bold,” Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said. “It’s already pretty clear that it’s heading for a pretty big loss and I think frankly the prime minister would do well to just admit defeat and I think she should announce today that she’s not going to put the vote because it’s clearly heading in the wrong direction.”
Mrs May wrote to Mr Corbyn, asking him to compromise so that Brexit could take place. “I have shown today that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people,” she said.
Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which props up Mrs May’s minority government, said the “fatal flaws” of her original deal remained. They fear the divorce deal could see Northern Ireland split from the rest of the UK.
The anger in Conservative Party ranks is so great some have begun a new push to oust her even earlier so that she doesn’t have the chance to put her Brexit plan to a vote in parliament, the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg said.
The Sun reported MPs would now try to force a confidence vote on the prime minister. Under conservative party rules, she cannot be replaced until December after a previous attempt failed and gave her a 12-month reprieve. However, the rules can be changed and today’s vote could be the first move towards that.
Brexiteer Nigel Evans said: “She has U-turned on absolutely everything. We cannot put up with this any longer.
“I will be asking my colleagues tomorrow to agree to a rule change so we can hold an immediate confidence vote if Theresa is not prepared to stand down now.”
Another Conservative MP, Ben Bradley, delivered an astonishing attack on Mrs May. He tweeted: “It’s simply not good enough to abdicate all responsibility for the type of Brexit we end up with.
“You are the Prime Minister. You can’t stand there and say ‘I do not support a second referendum, but parliament would like one so I’ll just go along with it’. You are meant to LEAD!”
Yesterday, Mrs May admitted delivering Brexit was harder than she anticipated.
The challenge of taking Brexit from the simplicity of the choice on the ballot paper to the complexity of resetting the country’s relationship with 27 of its nearest neighbours was always going to be huge.
“While it has proved even harder than I anticipated, I continue to believe that the best way to make a success of Brexit is to negotiate a good exit deal with the EU as the basis of a new deep and special partnership for the future,” she said.
“The majority of MPs say they want to deliver the result of the referendum … and I believe there is now one last chance to do that,” she added, noting that she had “compromised”.
Mrs May said the deadlock over Brexit was having a “corrosive” impact on political debate in the country and was stopping progress in other areas.
In a personal appeal, she said: “I have tried everything I possibly can to find a way through — I offered to give up the job I love.”
The main points of the PM’s revised plan are:
• A guarantee of a parliamentary vote on whether to hold another referendum on the government’s Brexit deal, with a promise to honour the outcome
• A vote on different customs options, including a government proposal for a temporary customs union for goods — what Mrs May called a “customs compromise”
• A legal obligation for the UK to “seek to conclude alternative arrangements” to replace the Northern Ireland backstop by the end of 2020
• If the backstop does come into force, the bill would guarantee Northern Ireland remains aligned with the rest of the UK and remains in same customs territory
• Legislation to ensure workers rights are “every bit as good if not better” after Brexit and guarantees of no dilution in environmental standards
• A legal duty to seek changes to the political declaration on future relations with the EU
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