Brandon Lewis quits, tells Boris Johnson: ‘We’re past the point of no return’
NI Secretary Brandon Lewis has become among the latest Ministers in Boris Johnson to quit, telling his increasingly isolated boss, Prime Minister Boris Johnson he could not “sacrifice my personal integrity”.
The man who has championed the introduction of the controversial Legacy legislation and the international law-breaking NI Protocol Bill, is the fifth cabinet member to step down.
There have now been over 50 resignations from what is an ever decreasing inner cycle, with Number 10 Downing Street yesterday becoming the epicentre of a Conservative Party political drama that has spiralled into a national crisis. Hirings, firings and resignations and ultimatums have been coming in quick succession, while the main protagonist again confounded colleagues and critics by refusing to quit and insisting he will continue as Prime Minister.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, the now former NI Secretary Brandon Lewis outlined some of the things he considered the biggest successes during his tenure and why he could not carry on.
He said: “It is with regret that I submit my resignation from the Government. It has been an incredible honour to serve in Government over the last ten years under three Prime Ministers, most recently as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
“Through the challenges of the last two and a half years, we have taken important steps to secure the future peace and prosperity of Northern Ireland. I am pleased to have guaranteed the greatest funding settlement for Northern Ireland since devolution in 1998. The legacy of the Troubles is one of the most complex and sensitive policy issues we have faced, one that successive Governments have struggled to address, so I am immensely proud that we have persevered and brought in the Northern Ireland (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill.
“We have taken huge strides to level up the economy of Northern Ireland and have not shied away from taking other difficult decisions; confronting the practical issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol, advocating for the reproductive rights of women and championing the benefits of integrated education for all.”
He added: “A decision to leave Government is never taken lightly, particularly at such a critical time for Northern Ireland. I have taken a lot of time to consider this decision, having outlined my position to you at length last night. I have served loyally in your Cabinet and you have achieved much during your time as the leader of our Party and as Prime Minister.”
“I delivered my first campaign leaflet as a teenager and the Conservative Party has been hugely influential in my life ever since. In recent weeks and months, we have been relentlessly on the defensive, consumed by introspection and in-fighting. A divided Party cannot win elections. It cannot deliver for those who trusted us with their votes for the first time in 2019.
“A decent and responsible Government relies on honesty, integrity and mutual respect it is a matter of profound personal regret for me that I must leave Government as I no longer believe those values are being upheld.”