Phillip Lee
Phillip Lee. AFP

UK Justice Minister Phillip Lee has resigned over the UK government’s handling of Brexit, dealing a significant blow to Theresa May before key Commons votes on the EU withdrawal bill.

Dr Philip Lee, also minister for human rights, made the announcement live on stage on Tuesday morning at a think tank event in London.

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He becomes the first MP to resign so he can vote against the government on Brexit.

In a tweet on Tiuesday, he said, “I am incredibly sad to have had to announce my resignation as a minister in Her Majesty’s Government so that I can better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is currently being delivered.”

Lee added released a statement on his website: “The main reason for my taking this decision now is the Brexit process and the Government’s wish to limit Parliament’s role in contributing to the final outcome in a vote that takes place today”.

On Brexit, he said, “In my medical experience, if a course of treatment is not working, then I review it. I also have a duty to get my patient’s informed consent for that action.

“When the Government is able to set out an achievable, clearly defined path — one that has been properly considered, whose implications have been foreseen, and that is rooted in reality and evidence, not dreams and dogma — it should go to the people, once again, to seek their confirmation.”