Published: Sun, November 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

United Kingdom transport Min. resigns over May "delusions"

United Kingdom transport Min. resigns over May

Transport minister Jo Johnson dropped his bombshell news in a recorded video message released this afternoon.

Transport minister Jo Johnson has resigned from government and backed a second referendum on Brexit.

The younger brother of former foreign secretary Boris Johnson - Jo Johnson called May's proposal a "terrible mistake".

It has gathered support in recent weeks amid increasingly strained relations between Number 10 and the Democratic Unionist Party, who fear Mrs May could agree to a backstop demanded by the European Union which could cut Northern Ireland off from the rest of the United Kingdom in the event of no deal.

The minister said that Britain would not accept separate treatment for Northern Ireland under a Brexit deal, and dismissed calls for a second referendum.

In a tweet, Boris said he had "boundless admiration" for his brother and that they are "united in dismay" at the indefensibility of May's position even though they disagree over Brexit.

It could be deployed in a bid to avoid a chaotic exit if no agreement can be reached or if a deal is voted down.

For good measure he added that Mrs May's handling of Brexit "is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis".

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.

While the majority of his constituents voted to leave the European Union, he rejected the idea that a vote on "what an idealised Brexit might offer" versus what was being delivered in reality, matched up to what many had voted for, describing the current state of things as an affront to democracy.

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

"My loyalty to my party is undimmed", Johnson added.

Jenny Chapman, Shadow Brexit Minister, said: "Jo Johnson is the eighteenth minister to resign from Theresa May's government".

"The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history", the spokesman said.

May's Downing Street office said on Twitter: "We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum".

"The prime minister thanks Jo Johnson for his work in government".

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

If a deal is voted down by parliament, the country could be thrust into an uncertain future: leaving abruptly without a deal, the collapse of May's government, an election, or, as some opponents of Brexit hope, a new referendum.

A senior source in the People's Vote campaign told Business Insider last week that up to three Conservative MPs would declare support for another referendum this month.

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