UK Minister quits over Theresa May's Brexit plan

Clay Curtis
November 11, 2018

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.

The only alternative on the table, he said, is a no-deal Brexit that would "inflict untold damage" on Britain.

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said: "Jo Johnson is the 18th minister to resign from Theresa May's government".

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. The critique from Johnson underscores the travails that May faces in getting any Brexit divorce deal, which London and Brussels say is 95% done, approved by her own fractious party.

According to Bloomberg, citing people from camps, the European Union and the United Kingdom need to work more on the Brexit deal in the next week if a summit to conclude the breakthrough agreement is to be held later this month.

"My brother Boris... is as unhappy with the government's proposals as I am", he said.

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Britain wants to strike an agreement with the EU as quickly as possible and it would be desirable for Britain and the EU to reach a deal at a special EU summit in November, he added.

But while Jo Johnson called Theresa May's Brexit strategy "a failure of British statecraft unseen since the Suez crisis" and being bound by European Union rules with no say a "never-ending purgatory", he mocked his brother's suggestion that a no deal Brexit would be a realistic option, adding: "inflicting such serious economic and political harm on the country will leave an indelible impression of incompetence in the minds of the public".

Another brother, Leo, 50, is not in public life but, as a remainer, he tweeted: "Respect to you Jo my bro".

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. "We will not under any circumstances have a second referendum".

"I think then people will need to ask themselves what is it that is going to be in the best interests of those who sent them to Westminster to represent them, to ensure that we maintain living standards and investment and prosperity and employment in our country", Lidington added.

Instead, Johnson said it would be proper to give the British public a chance to vote again because of the way the Brexit negotiations have evolved.

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