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

Nellie Chapman
November 11, 2018

Johnson - who had backed staying in the bloc in the 2016 referendum - is the younger brother of Boris Johnson, who spearheaded the pro-Brexit campaign and quit as foreign secretary in July over May's Brexit blueprint.

'On this most crucial of questions, I believe it is entirely right to go back to the people and ask them to confirm their decision to leave the European Union and, if they choose to do that, to give them the final say on whether we leave with the prime minister's deal or without it, ' he said.

He already expressed fears that the current "chaotic" Withdrawal Agreement being finalised would be "a bad mistake" in a blog, published yesterday to coincide with his departure.

"If these negotiations have achieved little else, they have at least united us in fraternal dismay".

"It is now my intention to vote against this Withdrawal Agreement".

Johnson's criticism underscored the travails that May faces in getting any Brexit divorce deal, which London and Brussels say is 95 percent done, approved by her own fractious party.

Serious impact?Image copyright PA Image caption Mr Johnson was elected MP for Orpington in 2010 and was made transport minister in January.

A well-respected and liked member of the government, he has decided that what was promised to people during the referendum campaign is now so different to what is on the table that he has quit the government instead. "We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum".

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In contrast to his brother, however, Mr Johnson voted Remain in the European Union referendum, and is now pushing for a second vote on leaving the bloc. I have never rebelled on any issue before now.

"This prospect alone would be a resigning matter for me as a constituency MP, but it is just a facet of a far greater problem facing the nation".

The remain-supporting brother of Boris Johnson, whose bombshell resignation took Westminster by surprise on Friday afternoon, said if other senior Conservatives followed suit, "good on them".

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".

In response, a Downing Street spokesman said: "The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history".

However he emphasised that a "no deal" Brexit, which the government insists is the only other option, would mean "chaos" that would cause disruption, delay and deep damage to the United Kingdom economy.

But now there are fears more high profile ministers could follow the Johnson brothers out of the door.

Former BBC journalist and current University of Kent chancellor Gavin Esler said: "This - from a hugely respected minister - is an important development".

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