Philip Lee resigns - and gets praised for not doing a David Davis

Written by David Singleton on 12 June 2018 in Diary

Fellow Tory MP Nick Boles gave his colleague the thumbs up for a 'classy' move.

To say that Philip Lee shocked Westminster by resigning over Theresa May's approach to Brexit would be something of an understatement.

The highly-rated justice minister announced the dramatic news live on stage during a speech to the Bright Blue think tank , saying he was acting “so I can properly speak out for my country and my constituents”.

He then followed up with a series of tweets and a statement his website in which called for a referendum on the final Brexit deal. And reminded people that he used to be a GP. Twice.

"In my medical experience, if a course of treatment is not working, then I review it," he stated.

Various Conservative MPs on both sides of the Brexit debate said that Lee had not tipped them off about his plan.

“Just told Tory MP close to Boris Johnson about Philip Lee's resignation while sharing a lift. He was so stunned he got off at the wrong floor,” stated one lobby journalist on Twitter moments after the new broke.

And even Lee’s wife looked “completely shocked” by his announcement, according to one hack.

Having digested the news one of the first MPs out of the traps to praise Lee, was fellow Tory moderate George Freeman. He stated: “Huge respect for my good friend… who I know has been wrestling with his conscience for a long time - for making a very tough & brave personal decision to give up office to take back control of his own Parliamentary destiny & be able to speak his mind.”

Another likeminded colleague took the opportunity to have a pop at the Brexit secretary, who almost resigned last week. Nick Boles stated: “I don't agree with Dr Phillip Lee MP about the idea of holding a referendum on the Brexit deal. But I admire his honesty and integrity.”

He added: “So much classier to resign on principle when nobody is expecting it, than to threaten resignation but never follow through.”

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