Jo Johnson quits Theresa May's government over her Brexit plans

Ivan Schwartz
November 10, 2018

The UK needs to "pause and reflect" before doing something "irrevocably stupid" over Brexit, Jo Johnson said a day after quitting as a minister.

His brother praised his decision, saying they were "united in dismay" at the PM's handling of the negotiations.

In a statement published on the Medium website, the younger Johnson claimed the Brexit deal the Prime Minister is pushing for would leave the United Kingdom "economically weakened, with no say in the European Union rules it must follow and years of uncertainty for business".

He added: "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".

But calls for a second Brexit referendum have been attacked by ex-first secretary of state Damian Green.

Asked if his brother Boris Johnson had lied to voters during the referendum about Brexit, the former transport minister said: "In the campaign there were undoubtedly promises made that have shown to be undeliverable".

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".

There are real questions about how we will be able to guarantee access to fresh food and medicine if the crucial Dover-Calais trade route is clogged up.

The resignation of such a high-profile figure, just days after Britain suggested it was close to a deal is seen as hugely significant. potentially leading to other Conservative MPs and Ministers speaking out in favour of a second referendum.

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It casts further doubt on Mrs May's chances of pushing her Brexit deal through the Commons. While in September senior party figures indicated support for a second referendum couldn't be ruled out, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell indicated that it was only the terms of leaving that could be put to the public rather than whether Britain should exit or not.

Jo Johnson's brother Boris resigned in July.

"We may not have agreed about Brexit but we are united in dismay at the intellectually and politically indefensible".

"Well done to Jo Johnson for joining the ranks of those who think we can do better".

"The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history".

Speaking to Matt Frei, Stanley Johnson reiterated that Jo resigned because the government is not delivering Brexit and because he can not support the Brexit plan "in honesty".

A spokesperson for May's office said later Friday that under no circumstances would a second referendum be held.

He denied his actions amounted to a coup against the prime minister.

Other reports by GizPress

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