British Minister Resigns Over 'Terrible Mistake' In Brexit Deal

Nellie Chapman
November 10, 2018

The Orpington MP resigned as a transport minister, saying the country was "barrelling towards an incoherent Brexit" and called for another referendum.

If the Prime Minister agreed to such a plan DUP MPs would vote against the deal in Parliament, senior members of the party have warned, making it nearly impossible for Mrs May to win enough support for it to pass.

In a blog explaining his decision, Jo Johnson said: "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".

With great regret, I'm resigning from the Government - I have set out my reasons in this article and the video below.

Calling Theresa May's Brexit deal "a awful mistake", the minister of state for transport quit his post, claiming the United Kingdom economy would suffer from May's Brexit agreement.

Johnson said Brussels offered Britain a chose between "vassalage and chaos" and that the document was "a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis".

Asked on Friday whether an agreement could make it through Parliament, de facto deputy PM David Lidington said he hoped that if a deal is agreed between the United Kingdom and European Union it would create a "new dynamic" in Westminster.

The timing of the decision will come as a blow to Mrs May, who is priming her Cabinet to sign up to proposals which will allow her to secure a deal on the withdrawal agreement with Brussels. Tom Watson, Labour's deputy leader, added: "How many more resignations is it going to take before we see a change at the top?"

Downing Street responded with a terse statement. We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum.

Johnson is the 14th minister to have resigned from government since November past year.

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But May has drawn the fury of her Northern Irish allies the Democratic Unionist Party.

"There's a widening gap between those politicians who believe the government's bad Brexit deal is what this country should accept, and those who believe we can do so much better at the forefront of the European Union and the world".

Johnson became the latest senior Tory to back the idea of a second referendum and appeared to support the approach suggested by the former education secretary Justine Greening, who has suggested a three-option referendum.

Johnson said "Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War".

'To do anything less will do grave damage to our democracy'.

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

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

The departing minister noted Brexit had divided Britain, political parties and "families too", but added: "what is now being proposed won't be anything like what was promised two years ago" during the referendum campaign.

They also suggested he had been privately supporting the work of anti-Brexit campaign group, People's Vote, "for some time" despite being a government minister.

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