Justice minister resigns from government to vote against Theresa May on Brexit

The resignation comes as the Commons prepare to take part in crunch votes on the Brexit bill.

Tory whips are pressing potential pro-EU rebels in the Conservative Party's ranks to make sure the party rallies enough votes to win.

The MP says he will back a knife edge vote created to give parliament the power to vote down May's Brexit deal.

May, who faces one of her most crucial weeks since becoming prime minister, will address the backbench Conservative 1922 Committee on Monday evening to tell her MPs that, even though the EU Withdrawal Bill is a largely technical matter, the way they vote will send out a highly important signal to the country.

"I am incredibly sad to have had to announce my resignation as a minister in Her Majesty's government so that I can better speak up for my constituents and country over how Brexit is now being delivered", Mr Lee said on Twitter.

There are two amendments that could prove particularly tough for the government to overturn.

Speaking to reporters outside the meeting, Solicitor General Robert Buckland confirmed the Government was in discussions with rebels about establishing a fresh amendment committing to seek a customs arrangement - not a union - with the EU. I am confident I can get a deal that allows us to strike our own trade deals while having a border with the European Union which is as frictionless as possible.

It is expected that Tuesday will see MPs decide whether Parliament should have the power to set the Government's negotiating goals if Theresa May's deal with Brussels is voted down.

"But if the Lords amendments are allowed to stand, that negotiating position will be undermined".

MPs will vote on a series of Lords' amendments to the EU Withdrawal Bill this afternoon and tomorrow, with the Prime Minister having brokered fragile unity last night.

Phillip Lee, a justice minister and personal friend of May, quit in a dramatic speech in central London in which he attacked "badly rushed" Brexit negotiations and insisted he could no longer serve in an administration pursuing a policy that failed in its duty to protect the public.