Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to inform you, after very careful; consideration, that I am resigning from the government with immediate effect.
This has not been an easy decision for me, as I have been, and continue to be, very supportive of the government’s policy of securing an agreement with the European Union in order to ensure an orderly exit for the United Kingdom.
As the MP for Watford, my duty and my priority is to my constituency, I have a responsibility to think and act in the local and national interest, and I am tasked with exercising my judgement in that respect.
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.
Further, as the UK’s Industry Minister, the clear message I have been receiving from the business community is that the failure to secure a deal and to rule out a hard Brexit is resulting in cancelled investment decisions, business being placed abroad, and a sense of ridicule for British business, across the world.
In the event of a no deal Brexit actually happening, there would be widespread and long-standing implications for everyone.
The economy may take five to ten years to adjust to the new reality, during which time jobs would be lost and livelihoods ruined.
I fear that no deal would be part of a giant economic experiment that is championed by a small minority of the economics profession, a small minority of the Conservative Party, and a small minority of the country.
I have therefore decided that I resign from the government to do all I can to prevent this from happening and will work with other concerned colleagues in these efforts.
I hope you will now act in the national interest and enable parliament this week to find a consensus which we can use as our negotiating position moving forward. I believe this is the only way to ensure true democracy.
The Conservative Party has a deep and honourable tradition of putting the national interest before itself. It also has had a long history of being the Party for business, entrepreneurs and supporting people to prosper and succeed.
This is the moment to ensure this Conservative Government continues this proud tradition and necessary endeavour. It has been an honour serving this government, and I will be proud and vocal in my support to you and your government on all matters aside from Brexit.
With best wishes,
Richard Hartington MP.