Min­is­ter sav­ages Che­quers deal as ‘fake Brexit’ and de­mands sec­ond ref­er­en­dum

Scottish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Jack Doyle Ex­ec­u­tive Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

BORIS John­son’s brother rocked the Gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day by re­sign­ing as a min­is­ter to de­mand a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. Jo John­son said he agreed with his Brex­i­teer si­b­ling that Theresa May’s pro­posed deal with Brus­sels was a ‘ter­ri­ble mis­take’ as well as a fake. But un­like his brother, who quit as for­eign sec­re­tary to cam­paign for a hard Brexit, the Re­main­sup­port­ing trans­port min­is­ter said vot­ers should have an­other chance to re­main in the EU.

He also in­sisted his res­ig­na­tion was ‘not part of a plot’ to help his brother reach No 10. Mr John­son told the Daily Mail he wished the

Prime Min­is­ter well but said vot­ers would never for­give the Tories if they backed her ‘fake fudge’ Brexit.

An­nounc­ing his dra­matic res­ig­na­tion, Mr John­son said the out­come of talks with the EU were a ‘fail­ure of British state­craft on a scale un­seen since the Suez cri­sis’. He added: ‘The stakes are so high that if we pro­ceed with this con and do a fake Brexit, we will never be for­given for this mess.’

Omi­nously for Down­ing St, the broad­side drew praise from both Leavers and Re­main­ers in the Con­ser­va­tive Party.

His brother Boris tweeted: ‘We may not have agreed about Brexit but we are united in dis­may at the in­tel­lec­tu­ally and po­lit­i­cally in­de­fen­si­ble UK po­si­tion.

‘This is not tak­ing back con­trol. It is a sur­ren­der of con­trol. It does not re­motely cor­re­spond to the man­date of the peo­ple in June 2016.’ On a dif­fi­cult day for Mrs May: The DUP ac­cused her of be­trayal and said it would vote against her EU with­drawal agree­ment;

Diplo­matic sources said Brus­sels talks were still at a stand­still;

Mrs May held talks with Em­manuel Macron of France;

Tory MPs warned her she faces ‘open re­bel­lion’ if Bri­tain’s fish­ing wa­ters are not pro­tected.

Mr John­son’s res­ig­na­tion came out of the blue just af­ter 4pm yes­ter­day. Although he did not speak to the PM, he in­formed Down­ing St of­fi­cials and ex­plained his de­ci­sion with an on­line video and 1,600-word ar­ti­cle. He said Mrs May’s plans would leave the coun­try in ‘never-end­ing pur­ga­tory’ of hav­ing to fol­low EU rules it could not in­flu­ence.

MPs would be forced to choose be­tween the ‘vas­salage’ of the deal and the ‘chaos of no deal’, he ar­gued.

One source said the Prime Min­is­ter was un­aware of his de­ci­sion be­cause she was at­tend­ing Armistice me­mo­rial events.

Speak­ing to the Mail, Mr John­son ex­plained his call for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum, say­ing it would not be a re­run of 2016.

He said it was time to ask vot­ers: ‘Do we want the deal that the Prime Min­is­ter has ne­go­ti­ated, do we want to crash out with no deal at all, or do we want to stay where we are?’ Mr John­son said a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum was per­fectly fea­si­ble and not as com­pli­cated as crit­ics had made out.

Down­ing St hit back im­me­di­ately, a spokesman 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.’

One White­hall source said Mr John­son, who was moved ear­lier this year from higher ed­u­ca­tion to trans­port, had ‘never wanted that job in the first place’.

He is the sec­ond Re­main-sup­port­ing min­is­ter to quit this year, fol­low­ing jus­tice min­is­ter Phillip Lee in June. It brings to 18 the num­ber to re­sign since Mrs May en­tered No 10 in 2016.

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