The Wall Street Journal: Blow to Theresa May as U.K. minister resigns ahead of crucial Brexit vote

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A British minister resigned unexpectedly Tuesday citing the government’s approach to Brexit, hours ahead of a showdown in Parliament over whether lawmakers can wrest some control from the government of the deal to leave the European Union.

The votes in the House of Commons, the elected chamber, could influence negotiations over the future relationship between the European Union and the U.K. after Brexit. The results could also deliver a further blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s authority, which was severely damaged when she lost her parliamentary majority after calling a general election last year.

The outcome of the votes hangs in part on how many lawmakers in May’s Conservative Party rebel against the government. As many as 11 Conservatives have opposed key parts of the government’s Brexit legislation in previous votes, enough to inflict defeat on May.

The resignation of Phillip Lee, a junior minister in the Justice Department who supported remaining in the EU during the 2016 referendum on membership of the bloc, further complicates the government’s effort to win the support of Parliament. Lee said he would side with fellow Conservative Party rebels in a vote Tuesday to give Parliament power to reject any Brexit deal it deems unsatisfactory.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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