Former Brighton councillor Maria Caulfield has resigned as the Conservative Party’s vice-chairman for women over the government’s position on Brexit.
Mrs Caulfield, now MP for Lewes, said that she had resigned “in protest at the announcement of the Prime Minister’s final Brexit position to offer the EU”.
She took up the national post in January and had been working to increase female representation in politics and bring women’s issues to light in the Conservative Party.
Mrs Caulfield supported Leave in the 2016 EU Referendum and served on the Northern Ireland and previously served as a member of the House of Commons Brexit Select Committee.
She said “Having attended the briefings provided for Members of Parliament, I cannot support the direction of travel in the Brexit negotiations which, in my view, do not fully embrace the opportunities that Brexit can provide.
“For me the backstop agreement for Northern Ireland was neither necessary or constructive for the future prosperity of the UK.
“Having strong links to the Republic of Ireland, I feel the backstop position is not appropriate and should have been rejected. It has been used by the EU as a way of blocking a mutually beneficial deal.
“Since the announcement on Friday my constituents, whether they voted leave or remain, have contacted me in large numbers to say they do not support the deal.
“I feel that I cannot support this deal and it would not therefore be appropriate for me to continue in my role as a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party.”
Mrs Caulfield formerly represented Moulsecoomb and Bevendean on Brighton and Hove City Council and served as the cabinet member for housing.