MINISTER for agriculture, fisheries and food George Eustice has become the 14th member of Thersea May’s government to quit, after the prime minister’s decision to allow MPs a vote on delaying Brexit.

In his resignation letter to Mrs May on Thursday, the longest serving farming minister said it was with “tremendous sadness” that he had decided to resign, but said he felt a delay in Brexit would mean a result where the EU would dictate the UK’s terms of any extension, in what Mr Eustice described as a “final humiliation of our country”.

Mr Eustice, a long-standing Brexiteer, said he felt the European Commission had not acted honourably, and had deliberately made the divorce slow and difficult.

He added that Britain must be prepared to “reclaim our freedom” by walking away without a deal.

“If the position of Parliament is now that we will refuse to leave without a agreement, then we are somewhat stuck,” he said.

“This is uncomfortable for everyone, but we cannot negotiate a successful Brexit unless we are prepared to walk through the door.

“We must therefore have courage, if necessary to reclaim our freedom first and talk afterwards. We must be ready to face down the European Union here and now.”

Mr Eustice said that he would still vote for the prime minister’s Brexit, and that he wanted to participate in the critical debate that would take place in the weeks ahead.

In the prime minister’s letter of response to Mr Eustice’s resignation, she thanked him for his five and a half years as Minister for DEFRA, over which he put forward the law ensuring CCTV requirements in slaughterhouses, and dedicated efforts to tackling the scourge of Bovine TB.

“I agree with you that parliament must now come together and honour the referendum result by voting for a deal which will give businesses and citizens the certainty they need and deserve,” Mrs May said.

“Our absolute focus should be on getting a deal that can command support in Parliament and leaving on March 29. It is within our grasp, and I am grateful to have your continued support in that important mission.”

Country Land and Business Association president, Tim Breitmeyer, said: “We are saddened to hear of George Eustice’s decision to resign.

“His farming background and first-hand knowledge and experience have been invaluable in the many areas of his brief. The farming community has lost a key ally at this critical time for the industry, which faces significant uncertainty.”