The deal, which was actually leaked before Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, was hugely unpopular with the Eurosceptics within the Conservative Party and there had been every expectation that they would vote it down when presented to Parliament.
Among those Eurosceptics is former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who quite the May Cabinet after she produced what was loosely referred to as the Chequers Deal earlier this year.
On Wednesday, Johnson pleaded with Cabinet Ministers to do the right thing and reject the draft deal. Initially, there was very little indication that Ministers would quit.
However, after reflecting on the Brexit dream, Raab has decided to do what he felt was the right thing for the United Kingdom. He handed in his resignation letter on Thursday morning.
“I regret to say that, following the Cabinet meeting yesterday on the Brexit deal, I must resign,” said Raab, who has also served May as Minister of Justice and subsequently of Housing.
“I understand why you have chosen to pursue the deal with the EU on the terms proposed, and I respect the different views held in good faith by all of our colleagues,” added Raab.
He said he could not support the deal for two reasons, in particular.
Firstly, Raab felt that the integrity of the United Kingdom was threatened by the regulatory regime proposed for Northern Ireland.
Secondly, he takes issue with the proposals for the backstop arrangement, where the EU holds a veto over the United Kingdom’s ability to exit. That could put the United Kingdom’s Brexit plans in limbo indefinitely.