Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

UK minister quits over ‘terrible mistake’ of proposed Brexit deal

Jo Johnson resigns as minister over Brexit | London Jo Johnson warns people Kent of no deal Brexit as he quits ministerial role
Kenny Thornton | 11 November, 2018, 06:46

Former transport minister Jo Johnson has hinted more ministers could be ready to resign over the Prime Minister's Brexit deal.

The sterling which had traded as high as 1.3072 against the US Dollar slipped to 1.2969 at the NY close and to 0.8742 versus the euro having been as high as 0.8692, just two points above Thursday's six month sterling top of 0.8682.

He added that "it has become increasingly clear to me that the withdrawal agreement, which is being finalised in Brussels and Whitehall will be a awful mistake".

Cabinet ministers have been invited this week to read the UK's draft withdrawal deal with the EU.

"To present the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis", he said.

Mr. Johnson is the MP for Orpington, a town in the south eastern county of Kent that threatened to become a "lorry park" in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

May issued an immediate rejection through her Downing Street spokesman: "We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum".

The cabinet ministers believe the plan - which has not been seen in Brussels - would allow the United Kingdom to sign global trade deals, negotiate a new trading relationship with the European Union without having to sign up to a Northern Ireland backstop and ensure a fixed end date. The critique from Johnson underscores the travails that May faces in getting any Brexit divorce deal, which London and Brussels say is 95% done, approved by her own fractious party.

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The former foreign secretary and his Remain-supporting brother were on opposite sides of the Brexit divide but were "united in dismay" at the "intellectually and politically indefensible" UK position.

Describing Mrs May's Brexit plan as "a bad mistake" he accused the Prime Minister of negotiating a deal which wasn't "anything like what was promised".

Asked if he could agree with Mr Johnson's call for a new referendum, Mr Corbyn said: "Not really, no".

Mr Johnson's sister Rachel said she was "hugely proud" of her "honourable and principled brother Jo who has put the interests of the country ahead of his political career".

Jo Johnson has hinted that other ministers might consider quitting in protest of Theresa May's Brexit plan - one day after he resigned.

But to leave at this moment, right when Theresa May is trying to stitch together a final deal, could have a serious impact.

Many politicians are unhappy with her compromise plans to maintain the free trade of goods with the European Union, which they say will leave Britain subject to decisions in Brussels without any input.

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