Transport minister Jo Johnson resigns over Brexit

Blanche Robertson
November 11, 2018

Cabinet ministers have been invited this week to read the UK's draft withdrawal deal with the EU.

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

The Northern Irish DUP - who May relies on for her parliamentary majority - has criticised the government's proposed plan, saying it could allow Northern Ireland to be separated from the UK.

In an interview with Der Spiegel published on Friday, the Labour leader renewed his criticism of the European Union's economic policy and called upon the entire country to "recognise the reasons why people voted leave".

The better alternative, he believes, is to have another vote on whether the people want to actually leave now when they know the cost they will have to pay. 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.

He said the two sides were discussing how to avoid a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

He offered a scathing critique of the Prime Minister's Brexit plan as he announced his exit, and suggested that others could be deciding whether to take a similar stand.

Ahead of a conference of the Eurosceptic Bruges Group on Saturday, Tory MP Mark Francois said further ministerial resignations could not be ruled out.

"He was a fantastic Minister to work with whilst we were at the Department for Education".

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Jo said: "Brexit has divided the country".

Tory former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who backed Remain in the referendum, told BBC2's Newsnight: "This is a matter when, quite frankly, country comes before party allegiance".

After receiving a first class Oxford degree in modern history in 1994, Mr Johnson worked as an investment banker before going into the media.

"My brother Boris, who led the "Leave" campaign, is as unhappy with the government's proposals as I am", Jo Johnson said.

He said the country was "on the brink of the greatest crisis" since the second world war, and that Ms May's settlement left the United Kingdom with a choice of "vassalage or chaos".

Transport Minister Jo Johnson has stepped down to protest UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plan.

Former BBC journalist and current University of Kent chancellor Gavin Esler said: "This - from a hugely respected minister - is an important development. If these negotiations have achieved little else, they have at least united us in fraternal dismay", he said.

The resignation came as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Brexit can not be stopped.

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