Transport minister Jo Johnson quits UK government, calls Brexit divorce deal a terrible mistake
Johnson made the shock resignation via an online video through his Twitter account. The Orpington MP, whose brother Boris spearheaded the Leave campaign, warned PM Theresa May's Brexit deal would leave the UK outside the EU but “wholly subject” to its rules.
The now ex-cabinet minister, who campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU during the 2016 referendum, made the stark claim that the issue of Brexit meant “Britain stands on the brink of the greatest crisis since the Second World War.”
He claimed the decision as to whether the UK now leaves the EU should be put into the hands of British citizens through a 'people's vote'.
Johnson said: “I think it is imperative that we now go back to the people and check that they are content to proceed on this extraordinary basis.
“Instead of 'in Europe but not run by Europe', we will be out of Europe and yet wholly subject to European rules.”
In his video, he insists that any hopes that existed for the “easiest deal in history” had now turned out to be “delusions.”
Tom Watson, Labour's Deputy leader, has called into question Theresa May's status as prime minister, highlighting the fact she has overseen a long list of cabinet resignations. Tory ardent remainers such as Anna Soubry and former education secretary Justine Greening, applauded Johnson for standing up for his beliefs.
Theresa May does not have a mandate to govern, let alone for her Brexit plan. How many more resignations is it going to take before we see a change at the top? https://t.co/0AA7rqobQQ— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) November 9, 2018
Live scenes from Downing Street as Jo Johnson resigns. pic.twitter.com/zXdYusY6mw— David Schneider (@davidschneider) November 9, 2018
Huge respect for @JoJohnsonUK . It’s tough resigning from a Ministerial post, he’s done the right thing. Now is the time for people to stand up for what they believe in or we will sleepwalk to a #Brexit disaster. There is another way – it’s a @peoplesvote_uk— Anna Soubry MP (@Anna_Soubry) November 9, 2018
Well done to @JoJohnsonUK on standing up for what he believes in. He was a fantastic Minister to work with whilst we were at the DfE. It’s a sad loss for Gvt, but Brexit is above party politics. https://t.co/icoTQDF11v— Justine Greening (@JustineGreening) November 9, 2018
Labour’s shadow Brexit minister, Jenny Chapman, said Johnson was the 18th minister to quit May’s Tory government, adding: “She has lost all authority and is incapable of negotiating a Brexit deal within her own party, let alone with the EU.”
His resignation follows that of high profile Tories such as David Davis, his brother Boris, and Steve Baker who all fell out with the PM over her Chequers Brexit proposal.
Downing Street have issued a statement saying: “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.”
It comes as Theresa May has been accused by the DUP of reneging on her promise to not sign up to a Brexit deal that treated Northern Ireland differently to the rest of the UK, warning the PM she couldn't rely on its support to get the plans agreed.
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