LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain faced a new political crisis on Thursday after Dominic Raab, her chief negotiator on withdrawal from the European Union, quit, a decision that threatens to wreck not only her plans for exit, but also her leadership.
The surprise resignation came Thursday morning and followed a tense, five-hour meeting of the cabinet on Wednesday in which ministers reluctantly agreed to sign off on Mrs. May’s draft plans for departure from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit.
Mr. Raab’s departure was not only unexpected but also deeply damaging to Mrs. May’s authority, increasing the risk that she might face a leadership challenge from rebel Conservative lawmakers.
Although a hard-line Brexit supporter, Mr. Raab had been a core member of the cabinet, and his presence reassured hard-line pro-Brexit lawmakers.
In his letter of resignation, Mr. Raab said that he “cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made.”
His decision could influence other pro-Brexit cabinet ministers, at least two of whom were known to be on the verge of resigning late Wednesday. That in turn makes it less likely that Mrs. May’s draft deal could be approved by Parliament.
With minutes of the announcement, the pound dropped one percent against the dollar.
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