Saturday, 17 November, 2018

United Kingdom minister Jo Johnson resigns over Brexit

A fishing boat Image Brussels has reportedly demanded access to UK fishing waters
Deanna Wagner | 11 November, 2018, 06:46

Boris Johnson's younger brother, Jo Johnson, resigned as transport minister from Theresa May's government on Friday, setting out his reasons in the manner of an analytical Financial Times article.

About 700,000 people rallied for a new Brexit referendum last month, the second largest march in recent memory, with consternation centred on the government's apparent failure to secure an acceptable deal.

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".

Mr. Johnson is the MP for Orpington, a town in the south eastern county of Kent that threatened to become a "lorry park" in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

FILE - In this March 3, 2016 file photo, Universities Minister Jo Johnson is photographed prior to giving a speech on science, universities and the European Union at the Babbage Lecture Theatre, University of Cambridge in Cambridge.

Unlike his Brexit voting brother who resigned as foreign secretary in July, Johnson voted to remain in the EU.

Jo Johnson's resignation, and his call for a fresh referendum to test voter sentiment, further complicates matters for May as she tries to strike a deal with European Union leaders that would pass muster with her own cabinet and win backing in Parliament.

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Eloise Todd, head of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: "This is an incredibly fearless move from Jo Johnson at a time when the public desperately needs more MPs to act in the national interest".

Mrs May has also come under fire from her own MPs and cabinet ministers, who have demanded legal advice on the final terms of the UK's exit to ensure the EU can not keep Britain inside the customs union indefinitely.

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

"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", he added.

"I mean volley to the left of the them, volley to right of them, and the Prime Minister charges on into the valley of death. The referendum took place.What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted leave".

Rachel also spoke to Andrew Pierce about how she wished the nation could disagree as amicably as the Johnson family does on the subject of Brexit and how a joint antipathy towards the Chequers deal had in fact united her brothers.