POLITICS
03/04/2019 13:29 BST | Updated 03/04/2019 16:50 BST

A Whopping 30 Government Ministers Have Now Resigned Under Theresa May – Here’s A List

In case you needed a reminder.

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It’s been a tough year for Theresa May – since the 2017 General Election didn’t quite go to plan, she’s been hit by a series of political tidal waves, including resignation after resignation.

Yet somehow the PM has managed to cling to power, despite losing more than one minister a month on average since voters went to the polls 22 months ago.

For comparison, during his second term in government, from May 2015 to July 2016, May’s predecessor David Cameron suffered the loss of just one member of his team  – unless he counts himself of course.

Iain Duncan Smith stepped down from the cabinet in March 2016, saying he was unable to accept planned cuts to disability benefits.

So, in case you needed a reminder, here are the resignations May’s government has grappled with since the 2017 election – including those lost to the fallout (so far) of the Brexit deal. 

1. Lord Bridges

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George Bridges was the parliamentary under-secretary of state for exiting the European Union until he resigned on June 12, 2017.

He left the post over differences between May’s approach to Brexit and his own.

2. Lord Price

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Mark Price was the minister for state, trade and investment until he resigned on September 3, 2017.

When the former chairman of John Lewis quit, he said his tenure in the role was “always going to time-limited”.

3. Baroness Anelay

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The peer resigned on 27 October, 2017 as a minister of state for exiting the European Union for health reasons, citing an injury she sustained in 2015.

She said she hurt herself when exiting a helicopter, describing it as “one ill-judged leap”.

4. Michael Fallon

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The first big name on the list, Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary during the Westminster sexual harassment scandal. 

Admitting his behaviour had “fallen short” of expectations, he left his frontbench position on 1 November, 2017.

 5. Priti Patel

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Patel sensationally resigned on 8 November, 2017 as the secretary of state for international development when it became clear she was going to be sacked, and after the UK media feverishly tracked her return journey to the UK following an official trip to Kenya.

She had held meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Netanyahu, without informing the Foreign Office beforehand – a flagrant breach of protocol.

6. Damien Green

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Green resigned at first secretary of state – essentially May’s number two – after admitting he made “misleading” statements about pornography on his office computers. He left the post on 20 December, 2017.

7. James Brokenshire 

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James Brokenshire became the seventh person to resign from May’s government in January 2018, stepping down from his role as Northern Ireland secretary over health issues. 

However, he returned to the Cabinet three months later after being appointed secretary of state for housing, communities and local government. 

 

8. Justine Greening

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Greening chose to resign from office on 8 January 2018 rather than accept the role of secretary of state for work and pensions, when she was reshuffled from her position as education secretary. 

9. Amber Rudd

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In one of the biggest political scandals of the year, home secretary Amber Rudd was forced to resign when her department was exposed for deporting Windrush generation citizens and amid claims by MPs that she was “making up immigration policy on the hoof”.

She left on 29 April, 2018 and an official report released this week stated she had been ‘let down’ by officials within her department

She later re-entered the cabinet as secretary of state for work and pensions following the resignation of Esther McVey in November 2018.

10. Phillip Lee

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Lee resigned as the under-secretary of state for youth justice on 12 June, 2018 over concerns he held about the government’s Brexit policy.

In his resignation letter, he said it was so he could “better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered”.

11. Greg Hands

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Hands resigned as trade minister on 25 June, 2018, after parliament approved a planned expansion of Heathrow airport, which he opposed.

12. David Davis

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Davis was the first big name to go after May unveiled her divisive Chequers strategy for implementing Brexit.

A leading Brexiteer for all of his political career, he resigned as secretary of state for exiting the European Union on 8 July, 2018 saying he “did not believe in” the PM’s plan.

He later backed her deal, voting in favour of it when it was brought back for a third Commons vote.

13. Steve Baker

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Baker was Davis’ deputy in the Brexit department and resigned shortly after him on 8 July, 2018. 

He claimed it was because his department had been left out of the loop when creating the Chequers agreement and that he and Davis had been “blindsided by this policy”.

He remains a staunch opponent of May’s plan.

14. Boris Johnson

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After the departure of Davis and Baker, everyone expected Johnson to follow suit and resign as foreign secretary – which he did the next day, on 9 July, 2018.

It was thought such a huge departure would lead to a serious rethink of Chequers or even topple May’s government – but neither scenario emerged.

15. Andrew Griffiths

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Griffiths resigned as the minister for small businesses a few days after the string of Chequers resignations, on 13 July, 2018. 

But Griffiths’ departure had nothing to do with Brexit – he left government after the Sunday Mirror revealed he’d sent more than 2,000 texts, many of a sexual nature, to two female constituents.

16. Guto Bebb

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It really was a tough month for May. Following the string of Brexit resignations and the Griffiths incident, Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb resigned from the government on July 17.

He stepped down as minister for defence procurement after he voted against against the whip on a Brexiteer-backed amendment to the Customs Bill.

17. Tracey Crouch

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Just as everyone had begun to believe chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn budget had created more headaches for Labour than the Tories, Crouch handed in her resignation as sports minister on 1 November.

She quit in protest over a six-month delay to in implementing a planned crackdown on fixed-odds betting machines, which would have seen the maximum stake slashed from £100 to £2.

Crouch had campaigned hard on the issue and when she discovered it had been put back to October 2019 as opposed to April, she chose to walk. The government U-turned on its decision just two weeks later.

18. Jo Johnson 

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Jo Johnson, brother of Boris and transport minister, resigned on 9 November, 2018.

In an explosive intervention as Britain neared an agreement to leave the EU, Johnson said that May was steering the country towards an “incoherent Brexit” and called for a second referendum.

“I think it is imperative that we now go back to the people and check that they are content to proceed on this extraordinary basis,” he said.

19. Dominic Raab

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Resignations are, perhaps, like buses.

The Brexit secretary, in post since David Davis walked out on 8 July, resigned on 15 November amid a wave of anger at May’s withdrawal agreement deal with the EU.

He told the PM in his resignation letter: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

He added that he thought the deal “presents a very real threat to the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Raab’s resignation was seen by some as a fatal blow to May’s chances of passing the deal through parliament, but like Davis, he decided to back the move on its third appearance in the Commons.

20. Esther McVey

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Minutes after news of Raab’s resignation broke, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey resigned too.

Citing similar issues with May’s withdrawal agreement, McVey said in a letter: “The deal you put before the cabinet yesterday does not honour the result of the referendum.”

21. Suella Braverman

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Suella Braverman, a Brexit minister who worked under Raab, announced her resignation 10 minutes before the PM delivered a Commons statement on her draft agreement, citing her own misgivings about the document. 

“This has not been an easy decision,” she wrote in her letter to May on 15 November.

22. Shailesh Vara

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The Northern Ireland minister tendered his resignation on the same day, 15 November, again over his concerns regarding May’s withdrawal agreement.

“I will always cherish the fondest memories,” he said in an emotional missive to No.10. 

23. Sam Gyimah 

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Sam Gyimah handed in his resignation as universities and science minister on 30 November, slamming the PM’s Brexit deal as “naive” and vowing to vote against it. 

Gyimah said the plan was “not in the British national interest”, insisting voting for it would “set ourselves up for failure”. 

24. George Eustice 

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Environment minister George Eustice quit the government on 1 March in protest of Theresa May’s vow to allow MPs to vote on delaying Brexit if her deal was rejected in the Commons. 

Brexiteer Eustice – who served as minister for almost four years – said the vote would be the “final humiliation of our country”. 

He told the BBC it would be “dangerous” to go to the EU “cap in hand at the 11th hour and beg for an extension”.

25. Sarah Newton 

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Can you figure out what work and pensions minister Sarah Newton quit the government over? You guessed it... Brexit. 

The minister for disabled people resigned after defying the Conservative Party whip to vote to block a no-deal Brexit completely – not just on March 29. 

The Falmouth and Truro MP said she stepped down from her post to “honour my commitment to my constituents, to leave the EU with ‘a deal’.”

26. Richard Harrington 

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Business minister Richard Harrington said he was acting in the “national interest” when he resigned on 25 March in order to back an amendment to allow parliament to take control of the Brexit process through a series of indicative votes. 

“At this critical moment in our country’s history, I regret that the government’s approach to Brexit is playing roulette with the lives and livelihoods of the vast majority of people in this country who are employed by or otherwise depend on business for their livelihood,” he wrote in a letter to the PM. 

27. Alistair Burt

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25 March was a big day for resignations – Richard Harrington was just one of three Tory MPs to resign from the government to back the case for indicative votes on the Brexit process. 

He was joined by Middle East minister Alistair Burt, who said parliament must break the Brexit deadlock “for the country’s sake”. 

28. Steve Brine  

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Completing the trio of exiting ministers was health minister Steve Brine, who also quit the government to back Oliver Letwin’s amendment for indicative votes. 

“At this stage in the endgame of the Brexit process, I was not prepared to vote against that (or another amendment which again makes clear our wish to avoid no deal) so the honourable thing was to leave the government tonight and vote accordingly,” he said in a letter to the PM, adding that he would vote for her Brexit deal in any future votes. 

29. Nigel Adams 

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Next was Nigel Adams – a minister in the Wales office. He quit the government on 3 April in protest at Theresa May’s decision to hold Brexit talks with Jeremy Corbyn.

In his resignation letter, the Selby and Ainsty MP attacked the prime minister for pursuing a new plan “cooked up with a Marxist”.

He said May was “simultaneously failing” to deliver the Brexit people voted for and prevent “the calamity of a Corbyn government”.

30. Chris Heaton-Harris 

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The latest minister (but probably not the last) to resign from May’s government was Chris Heaton-Harris.

The Brexit minister quit just hours after Nigel Adams, arguing that the government “should have honoured the result of the 2016 referendum” and taken the UK out of the EU on March 29.

In a letter to the PM, he said May’s decision to avoid leaving the EU without an agreement made his job planning for a no-deal Brexit “irrelevant”. 

Honourable Mention: Lord Bates

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Lord Bates had his resignation refused by Downing Street.

International development minister Lord Bates tried to resign after being late for a debate in the House of Lords in January 2018.

He said at the time he was “thoroughly ashamed at not being in my place” when he should have been answering questions, he then walked out of the lobby as colleagues shouted: “No!” 

However, No.10 refused to accept his resignation and he still serves in the post.