Mr Brine was one of three Conservative MPs to resign on Monday night – including former pharmacy minister Alistair Burt – to vote against the government's EU withdrawal deal strategy.
In his resignation letter, Mr Brine said despite supporting Ms May’s Brexit deal in two previous votes, “it looks like a tall order for it to pass the House of Commons, so we are left in a position where the House must find a common position”.
“The honourable thing [is] to leave the government,” Mr Brine said, and vote in favour of an amendment that will allow MPs to vote on a series of motions on Brexit – so-called “indicative votes”.
“I feel so passionate that leaving without a withdrawal agreement…is not acceptable to me or in the national interest,” he stressed.
Mr Brine paid tribute to the “highly competent and professional team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DH), led by our outstanding secretary of state Matt Hancock, who have done everything they can to ensure medicines and medical supplies will be protected for patients whatever form our exit from the EU takes”.
“Health is without question the best prepared department in Whitehall,” he said.
Read C+D editor James Waldron's initial reaction to Mr Brine’s departure.
PSNC: Brine was supportive of pharmacy
In a statement this morning, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive Simon Dukes said “considerable progress” to rebuild a constructive working relationship with the government had been made over the past year, and Mr Brine “was central to that”.
“He regularly expressed his support for community pharmacy in parliamentary statements and beyond, and we look forward to continuing to work with him as an MP on pharmacy and public health matters.”
“Given the extraordinary situation in parliament at the moment, it is unclear when another minister might be appointed,” Mr Dukes added.
However, PSNC will continue to talk to the DH and NHS England and “stress the importance and urgency of the upcoming community pharmacy funding negotiations”.
Mr Dukes hopes negotiations for the next pharmacy contract will start before Easter.
NPA: Current situation is unsustainable
National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chief executive Mark Lyonette said Mr Brine “showed a willingness to engage positively with our sector and we hope he will continue an active interest now he is on the backbenches”.
The NPA “will make the case to his successor that the current situation in community pharmacy is unsustainable and needs urgent attention”, Mr Lyonette added.
Time in post
Speaking to C+D at the opening of wholesaler Sigma Pharmaceutical’s automated warehouse in March last year, Mr Brine said community pharmacies “have got to embrace technology and embrace the future, because that is what serves patients better”.
He was due to meet with the all-party pharmacy group (APPG) on April 3 to discuss pharmacy’s role in delivering the NHS long-term plan.
Former pharmacy minister @BrineMP showed a willingness to engage with our sector that we hope will continue as a backbencher. We'll work in partnership with his successor to remedy current unsustainable position in community #pharmacy & make things better for patients & the #NHS— NPA (@NPA1921) March 26, 2019
We may have not always agreed but it was a pleasure to work with @BrineMinister on major issues such as smoking cessation and community pharmacy.— Kevin Barron MP (@KevinBarronMP) March 26, 2019
2 good people with a knowledge of pharmacy appear to show they have principles https://t.co/orMMp6Yuvb— Sandra Gidley (@SandraGidley) March 25, 2019
Just when we seemed to be getteing somewhere @PSNCNews— Steve Mosley (@thatMosley) March 25, 2019
At least we know they’re good eggs at heart, just a shame we don’t get to work with them anymore. Let’s hope that changes soon. #pharmacy https://t.co/blb6kWGomi
Inevitable but bloody hard to bear after he has built a relationship, got positive ideas and generated some confidence after the disastrous Mowat. I see a predecessor Burt has also gone. My thoughts are unprintable https://t.co/FJoS5tKC8P— Tony Schofield (@tony_schofield) March 26, 2019