Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

United Kingdom minister Jo Johnson resigns over Brexit

United Kingdom minister Jo Johnson resigns over Brexit

Jo Johnson, who supported Remain in the referendum campaign, delivered a stinging rebuke to Mrs May's Brexit position as he walked out of Government in protest.

Orpington, the Greater London constituency represented by the brother of Boris Johnson, voted in 2016 to leave the European Union by 56.2%.

Jo Johnson resigned as Britain's transport minister on Friday, branding the proposed Brexit deal a "terrible mistake" that necessitated a fresh referendum on leaving the EU.

The MP for Orpington is brother to Boris Johnson, the Brexit-supporting former Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary - but, like sister Rachel, was himself a Remain supporter during Britain's referendum on European Union membership in 2016.

"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 bad mistake", said Johnson, who was a transport minister in the government. "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".

Transport Minister Jo Johnson has stepped down to protest UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

Mr Johnson also joined other senior Tories, such as former education secretary Justine Greening and ex-business minister Anna Soubry, to demand a second referendum.

He said he will vote against the deal Mrs May brings back from Brussels, just days after her withdrawal agreement plan was signed off by her cabinet.

In the meantime, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said talks between London and Brussels were making progress.

In a blog post, Johnson announced his support for another public vote on Brexit: "Given that the reality of Brexit has turned out to be so far from what was once promised, the democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say".

Downing Street thanked him for his work but continued to insist there was no prospect of another referendum "under any circumstances". He said: "I think a second referendum would be divisive, but it wouldn't be decisive".

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

Prime Minister Theresa May this week faced pressure from her Westminster allies in the Democratic Unionist Party not to allow a customs border to split Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom after Brexit.

Speaking of his brother, Jo Johnson acknowledged that the Brexit negotiations "have at least united us in fraternal dismay".

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