British govt minister quits over Brexit, calls for new vote

Jo Johnson has resigned as transport minister over BrexitMore

Johnson, who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, follows his elder sibling Boris - who spearheaded the pro-Brexit camp and quit as foreign secretary in July over Prime Minister Theresa May's plans - out of government over the divisive issue.

The DUP leader said "no unionist" could back Mrs May's apparent advocacy of a withdrawal treaty that includes a Northern Ireland specific backstop measure to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

"To present the nation with a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis", he wrote, adding that from the work of his own Department he was aware that a no-deal scenario could threaten the country's access to fresh food and medicine.

A Downing Street spokesman said: 'The referendum in 2016 was the biggest democratic exercise in this country's history.

But he said a second referendum is "not the way forward and is not supported by the public".

The terms Theresa May appears to have struck with Brussels would lead to Britain becoming a "vassalage state", Johnson said, or would lead to the United Kingdom crashing out on WTO rules on the other hand.

"The only deal that can avert disaster is one that keeps our place in the single market and customs union".

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Jo is not a major figure in the Prime Minister's Cabinet, but it will be perceived as a major blow for her crunch Brexit talks. Amid a Brexit process that has been characterised by shameful dissimulation at the highest levels of the British state, Mr Johnson should be applauded for his honesty.

After detailing his decision to quit in a blog post, he told the Daily Mail: "It is a fake fudge".

It is created to ease fears that leaving the union without a deal would mean ports would be shut, planes would be grounded and the British economy would face a shock. But we're signing up to the common rule book on standards and health and safety, the environment and all the rest of it.

Johnson said the mooted deal had united him in "fraternal dismay" with his Brexit-backing brother Boris saying he could not support May's Chequers strategy.

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.

Labour said the resignation - the 18th during the PM's tenure - showed May had lost authority and could not negotiate Brexit. "What we can do is recognise the reasons why people voted Leave".

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