Here is the full text of the resignation letter of Steve Baker and the reply from Theresa May.
Dear Prime Minister,
The policy for our future relationship with the EU agreed by the Cabinet on 6 July will be the centrepiece of DExEU’s work. I acknowledge the Parliamentary opinion and arithmetic which constrain the Government’s freedom of action but I cannot support this policy with the sincerity and resolve which will be necessary. I therefore write with regret to resign from the Government.
Thank you for the opportunity to be the Commons Bill Minister for the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. The passage of the Act in a condition suitable to serve the democratic decision of the British people in the referendum is an historic event in which I am grateful to have played my part. I pay tribute to the intellect, perseverance, energy and commitment of the lawyers, bill managers, special advisers, other officials and ministerial colleagues who worked well beyond the call of duty to make this possible.
I am also grateful for the opportunity to have served on the Cabinet Committee responsible for Domestic Preparedness, Legislation and Devolution and to have frequently chaired the Inter-Ministerial Group on EU Exit Issues on behalf of the Secretary of State. It has been an honour to work so closely with colleagues at the top of Government who are delivering our preparedness, irrespective of their position at the Referendum. I believe we have done much to deliver the Government’s plans to exit the EU in all eventualities, including the contingency scenario of “no deal”.
It is with regret that I leave the Government at a time when Cabinet has resolved to step up delivery of our plans for UK preparedness. The skill and professionalism, dedication and composure of officials in DExEU’s Policy and Delivery Coordination directorate has been an inspiration. Their work gives me hope that our civil service can and will transform government to deliver the agility necessary to serve the public following our EU exit.
It has been a tremendous honour and pleasure to serve in your Government at this historic time.
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Thank you for your letter informing me of your decision to resign as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.
I am sorry that you are leaving Government, particularly at a time when we are stepping up the plans on which you have already done so much to make sure the UK is prepared for our departure from the EU in eight months’ time. I would like to thank you for all that you have done over the past year as a Minister. You have approached your work with great diligence and sincerity, helping us to deliver on the result for which you campaigned so passionately during the referendum.
In particular, you should take pride in your role steering the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 through Parliament. As you rightly point out, that landmark Act is the product of many hours’ hard work by a great number of dedicated public servants – not least you as the Commons Bill Minister. That it is on the statute book is a tribute to the work you undertook, and to the Government’s continued commitment to honour the result of the referendum and the measures we laid out in our manifesto for the general election last year.
Thank you again for the important contribution you have made at this crucial time for our country. I know that you have much left to contribute in the future.