Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

Jo Johnson quits as minister over Brexit

Jo Johnson resigns as minister over Brexit | London British Minister quits over Brexit plan
Kenny Thornton | 11 November, 2018, 02:22

Transport minister Jo Johnson has resigned from government and backed a second referendum on Brexit.

The MP, who is Boris Johnson's brother, said the withdrawal deal now being negotiated with the European Union "will be a bad mistake".

He published an article online in which he warned that the Prime Minister was presenting the country with "two deeply unattractive outcomes - vassalage and chaos".

"But it has become increasingly clear to me that the Withdrawal Agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall even as I write, will be a awful mistake".

"This is a negotiation and needs to be an agreement of course between the British Government, but also with the European Union and the 27 countries that are represented by Michel Barnier and his negotiating team".

"This is a con on the British people: there is no evidence that the kind of Brexit that we've failed to negotiate while we are still members can be magically agreed once the United Kingdom has lost its seat at the table".

He said the public should be given the chance to vote again on whether they want Brexit, and if so whether they accept what is on offer or choose to leave without a deal. "To do anything less will do grave damage to our democracy".

Theresa May has said the withdrawal deal is 95% done - but there is no agreement yet on how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland.

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Senior Conservative sources told i that Mr Johnson had not sought to speak to the Prime Minister about his intentions, nor had he written to her before announcing his resignation, breaking with usual convention.

Lord Heseltine, the former deputy prime minister and a supporter of the People's Vote campaign group, added: "This is a very significant resignation".

She has lost all authority and is incapable of negotiating a Brexit deal within her own party, let alone with the EU.

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history.

May's office rejected his call, saying Britain would not hold a second referendum on its European Union membership "under any circumstances".

"But I have every hope that the Prime Minister would listen to Parliament, because the alternative in those circumstances would be nearly certainly that the Government would fall".

His decision was welcomed by campaigners for a second referendum, with some privately suggesting other junior ministers could join him in the coming days.

Johnson is the sixth minister to resign over Brexit in Theresa May's cabinet, following in the footsteps of his brother Boris, David Davis, Boris Johnson, Philip Lee, Steve Baker and Guto Bebb.

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