Theresa May loses more cabinet ministers over Brexit

The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two British Cabinet minister have resigned in protest at Prime Minister Theresa May's proposed Brexit deal with the European Union.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey quit, saying the deal "does not honor the result of the referendum" in which Britain voted to leave the EU.

She resigned an hour after Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab also quit, saying he could not "in good conscience" support the terms of Britain's departure from the EU next March.

The resignations leave May's Brexit deal, and her leadership of the Conservative Party, in peril.

The pound fell 1 percent on the news, a relatively large decline for an established currency, to $1.2870.

The deal negotiated by May is considered insufficient by Brexit backers as well as those who wanted to remain in the EU. Parliament needs to approve the deal and it is unclear whether May has the numbers to push it through.

May, who had persuaded a majority of her cabinet to back the deal, is addressing lawmakers Thursday morning.

The prime minister made some major concessions to the EU to achieve the deal: Britain, for example, will remain tied to the European Union's customs union during the transition period and potentially for much longer.

Raab said the agreement was unacceptable, and that "no democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime".

The opposition Labour Party's Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer told the "Good Morning Britain" television program that the deal was a "miserable failure of negotiation," signaling that May is unlikely to be able to count on the main opposition to make up for those from her own Conservative Party who look set to vote against.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC's Radio 4 that lawmakers should back the draft divorce agreement because the alternatives were "ugly", adding: "Ultimately this allows us to take back control."

European Union chief Donald Tusk has called for a summit of leaders to take place on Nov. 25 so they can endorse a draft Brexit deal that has been reached with the British government.

Following an early Thursday meeting, Tusk heaped praise on the EU's Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, who had "achieved the two most important objectives" - limiting the damage caused by Britain's impending departure and maintaining the interests of the other 27 countries that will remain in the bloc after Brexit.