• Steve Brine resigned to vote against the government on the Letwin amendment
  • Mr Brine had been government minister for past three years 
  • Held post of public health and primary care minister from June 2017

A minister in the Department of Health and Social Care resigned last night so he could vote against the government on a Brexit-related issue. 

Steve Brine, MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford, resigned to vote for a cross-party amendment yesterday that allows MPs to bring forward a series of so-called indicative votes – non-binding ballots on various options for how the UK could leave the European Union.

The Letwin amendment – named after its primary proponent, backbench Conservative grandee Sir Oliver Letwin – effectively gives MPs control of part of the Parliamentary timetable. The indicative votes aim to give MPs a chance to find consensus on how the UK should exit the EU. This could then be used to guide future negotiations with the bloc.

Mr Brine told the prime minister it was evident the government could not find a majority of MPs to support its draft withdrawal agreement. “So we are left in the position where the House must find a common position,” he said.

“My belief is that the only way to achieve that is by a series of ‘indicative’ votes and I want to support the amendment in the name of our colleague Oliver Letwin,” Mr Brine added.

He said he could not vote against the amendment put forward by Sir Oliver, along with cross-party MPs, so “the honourable thing was to leave the government tonight and vote accordingly”.

Mr Brine had been a government minister for the past three years and held the post of public health and primary care minister from June 2017.

He was one of three ministers to resign to vote for the amendment. He was joined by Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt and Richard Harrington of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.