Richard Harrington says no deal will set economy back 10 years

S216 richard harrington

Construction minister Richard Harrington resigned yesterday in order to vote against the government to give MPs control of the Brexit process.

Harrington, health minister Steve Brine and foreign office minister Alistair Burt all quit yesterday evening.

Harrington (pictured) became construction minister in June 2017, after the previous construction minister Jesse Norman was moved to the transport department following the general election. Norman held the role for just under a year.

Harrington, who tweeted a copy of his resignation letter, said: "The clear message I have been receiving from the business community that failure to secure a deal and to rule out a hard Brexit is resulting in cancelled investment decisions, business being placed abroad, and a sense of ridicule for British business, across the world."

He added that a no deal Brexit would have "widespread and long-standing implications for everyone. The economy may take five to 10 years to adjust to the new reality."

In the letter, which was addressed to May, Harrington also he would remain in "proud and vocal" support of the government on all matters excluding Brexit.

Harrington’s resignation is likely to be a further cause for concern for the construction industry, which has been pleading for clarity around Brexit for months.

Last month the boss of the Construction Leadership Council asked Harrington to fight for construction in the lead up to the 29 March Brexit deadline.

Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the CLC and chief executive at Thames Tideway, wrote to Harrington, who was also his co-chair of the CLC, laying out the industry’s biggest concerns ahead of Brexit.

In his letter Mitchell said: “It will not be possible to mitigate all of the potential impacts of ‘no deal’ and that close collaboration and a spirit of cooperation will be needed to solve further issues as and when they arise.

“I would therefore urge you to continue to advocate for the industry within government and encourage your ministerial colleagues to adopt this approach in their dealings with the sector.” 

The letter followed a summit of bosses from across the construction sector looking at how the industry could cope with a no-deal Brexit that the CLC hosted in January.