Here is Ben Bradley’s letter of resignation in full
I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign from my position as Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party in the light of the Brexit position agreed by the Cabinet at Chequers last week.
I fully understand and appreciate the great many challenges you face in delivering on Brexit, not least the balancing act in the House of Commons that constrains your freedom. However I have come to the conclusion that I cannot in good faith be a spokesman for the party or for Government on this issue, and I cannot with any sincerity defend this course to my electorate, 71% of whom voted to leave the European Union.
There has been much discussion over the two years since the Referendum about the motives of Leave voters. I admit that I voted to Remain in that ballot. What has swayed me over the last two years to fully back the Brexit vision is the immense opportunities that are available from global trade, and for the ability for Britain to be an outward looking nation in control of our own destiny once again. I fear that this agreement at Chequers damages those opportunities; that being tied to EU regulations, and the EU tying our hands when seeking to make new trade agreements, will be the worst of all worlds if we do not deliver Brexit in spirit as well as in name, then we are handing Jeremy Corbyn the keys to Number 10.
In my view this problem stems from the decision to accept the backstop agreements for Northern Ireland. I understand why you perhaps felt that you had to take that decision at that time, but it now becomes the barrier to the kind of wide-ranging free-trade agreement with the EU that many in our party and the country would like to see. It has become a problem rather than a solution, but the Northern Ireland backstop cannot be allowed to become the deciding factor for the whole of the UK’s economy and trade policies. We must hold out for a deal that is right for our country, and ensure that walking away on WTO terms is a genuine and achievable alternative should that prove impossible.
As the MP for Mansfield I believe that the almost three quarters of local people who voted Leave did so wanting to give Britain control of its own destiny, its borders and its laws. I owe it to my constituents to raise my concerns and speak freely about this policy, and to fulfil the promise I made to them in the 2017 election to make Mansfield’s voice heard for the first time in decades.
I have taken this decision with great regret as I have very much enjoyed my work at CCHQ, rebuilding a new organisation to reach out to young Conservative members around the country. I am certain that I leave this work in a far better place than when I arrived in January and I trust that these strides forward will continue under Brandon Lewis’ excellent leadership. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to take on the role, and for the support that has been given to me throughout my time as Vice Chairman.
I was elected last year on the back of a campaign that focussed on your leadership, and on delivering Brexit. I hope that under your continued leadership we can make the necessary changes to these proposals and fulfil the promise we made to the electorate.
Ben Bradley MP