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Montevideo, November 17th 2018 - 13:06 UTC

British minister resigns and calls for the public to have a fresh say on Brexit

Saturday, November 10th 2018 - 09:00 UTC
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Jo Johnson voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum while his brother Boris, who quit as foreign secretary in July, was a leading Brexiteer Jo Johnson voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum while his brother Boris, who quit as foreign secretary in July, was a leading Brexiteer
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. 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.
DUP said they cannot support any deal which included the possibility that Northern Ireland would be treated differently from the rest of the UK DUP said they cannot support any deal which included the possibility that Northern Ireland would be treated differently from the rest of the UK

Jo Johnson has quit as Britain's transport minister and called for the public to have a fresh say on Brexit. The MP, who is Boris Johnson's brother but voted Remain in the referendum, said the deal being negotiated with the EU “will be a terrible mistake”.

Arguing Britain was “on the brink of the greatest crisis” since World War Two, he said what wan on offer wasn't “anything like what was promised”.

Downing Street thanked him for his work but ruled out another referendum.

Jo Johnson voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum while his brother Boris, who quit as foreign secretary in July, was a leading Brexiteer. His brother praised his decision, saying they were “united in dismay” at the PM's handling of the negotiations.

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

On Friday the DUP, whose support Theresa May relies on for votes in the Commons, said they cannot support any deal which included the possibility that Northern Ireland would be treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Mr Johnson, the MP for Orpington in Kent, said the choice being finalized was either: an agreement which would leave the UK “economically weakened with no say in the EU rules it must follow”, or a “no-deal Brexit” which would “inflict untold damage on our nation”.

He described this as “a failure of British statecraft unseen since the Suez crisis” but said even a no-deal Brexit “may well be better than the never-ending purgatory” being put forward by the prime minister.

But in a warning to his brother and fellow Brexiteers, he added: “Inflicting such serious economic and political harm on the country will leave an indelible impression of incompetence in the minds of the public.”

The “democratic thing to do is to give the public the final say”, he argued.

He added: “This would not be about re-running the 2016 referendum, but about asking people whether they want to go ahead with Brexit now that we know the deal that is actually available to us, whether we should leave without any deal at all or whether people on balance would rather stick with the deal we already have inside the European Union.

”Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War. My loyalty to the party is undimmed. I have never rebelled on any issue before now. But my duty to my constituents and our great nation has forced me to act.“

In response, a Downing Street spokesman said: ”The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history. We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum. “The prime minister thanks Jo Johnson for his work in government.”

Mr Johnson is the sixth minister in Theresa May's government to resign specifically over Brexit, following David Davis, Boris Johnson, Philip Lee, Steve Baker and Guto Bebb.

Categories: Politics, International.

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