UK minister resigns over Brexit deal, seeks 2nd referendum

London: UK’s Minister of Universities and Science Sam Gyimah has resigned from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government over her Brexit agreement with the EU, calling it a “deal in name only” and seeking a second referendum.

Conservative MP Gyimah said the inability of May’s government to secure continued participation in Galileo, the EU’s strategic satellite navigation system, was only a foretaste of disappointments to come under her Brexit deal.

Gyimah resigned on Friday and became the seventh minister to quit May’s government over Brexit. He called for a vote to gauge the public’s mood if the Prime Minister loses the vote in Parliament on December 11, the Guardian reported.

“I cannot support the government’s deal and as such, I have tendered my resignation,” Gyimah said in a statement made public on Saturday, adding May’s withdrawal agreement was “a deal that leaves us poorer, less secure and weaker”.

Gyimah said the deal could lead to “potentially crippling ourselves politically and economically for decades to come”.

“There is a blocking minority in the House of Commons for almost every possible option which means that letting the people decide, now that we know more, might be the most sensible path for both leavers and remainers,” Gyimah told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“We don’t actually have a deal, we have a deal in name only… What we have is a series of principles of what we want to achieve as a country, a set of negotiations after we have left the EU and given up our voice, our veto and our vote.”

“Our interest will be hammered during these negotiations, we have no leverage. They (the EU) set the hurdles you have to clear.”

The UK had wanted to remain within Galileo after Brexit, but the EU said it would be banned from the extra-secure elements of the programme.

Galileo is to become the EU’s replacement for the US-inspired Global Positioning System which helps people locate geographical points on mobile phone maps.

Galileo will be a much more ambitious system that will also form part of a new and much more precise guidance system for cars and other transport.

May confirmed on Friday that the UK was withdrawing from the project despite having invested vast amounts of money in it. Gyimah said that a second referendum on remaining part of the EU should not be ruled out.

“We shouldn’t dismiss out of hand the idea of asking the people again what future they want, as we all now have a better understanding of the potential paths before us.”