Stephen Phillips is resigning as a Tory MP in protest at the government’s reluctance to engage with Parliament over Brexit. Phillips, a lawyer by profession, voted Out in the referendum. But he has repeatedly argued that parliamentary sovereignty means that the executive must come to parliament before triggering Article 50 and consult with parliament over its negotiating aims. He blames his resignation on the fact that ‘growing and very significant policy differences with the current Government mean that I am unable properly to represent the people who elected me.’
Phillips is quitting with immediate effect, meaning that there is another by-election coming. Phillips’s Lincolnshire seat voted heavily to Leave, so a pro-Brexit candidate will almost certainly win the seat. But Phillips’ resignation following on from the government’s defeat in the High Court yesterday on Article 50, does show just how difficult Theresa May will find steering Britain’s departure from the EU through parliament.